4) The girl's bookbags were left on the gym floor during class. [34] This could be explained by Zipf's Law where the familiarity or frequency of an occurrence motivates the linguistic simplification of the concept. Although the relationships listed above are likely to be instances of inalienable possession, what is ultimately classified as inalienable depends on conventions, specific to the language and the culture. [22], Spanish also uses a definite article (las) to indicate inalienable possession for body part constructions. Place: John Benjamins Publishing. Iconicity explains this in terms of the relationship between the conceptual distance between the possessor and possessee,[33] while economy explains this through frequency of possession.[34]. Nichols notes that frequently possessed nouns, such as body parts and kinship terms, almost always occur with possessors, whereas alienable nouns occur with possessors less often.[34][38]. It is impossible to say that a particular relationship is an example of inalienable possession without specifying the languages for which that holds true. These same articles (not including the 1st and 2nd person singular) are used to connect a possessor directly to possession. The linguistic distance between the possessor and possessee is much smaller for the example in (29b) than in (29a). Similarly, the inherent possession of the possessor is called possessum. This sentence has both an alienable and an inalienable interpretation: This type of ambiguity also occurs in English with body part constructions. French cannot use the inalienable possession construction for a relationship that is alienable. var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); Proto-Polynesian possessive marking. A pencil, though, is easily removed from one’s possession, and is one of many examples of alienable possession. For example, neighbor may be an inalienable noun in one language but alienable in another. It is when using familiar speech that harmonization can become tricky for non-native speakers. Every chain is then associated with one theta-role. Likewise, a father implies "(someone's) father". [28] The data from Dâw are an example of this. In contrast to the previous example, omission of the marker de is ungrammatical, as in example (29b). [30] Possessors (whether to alienable or inalienable nouns) can be expressed with different constructions. In alienable possession: the semantics of the definite article 1. In this example, because the possessors are both male and female, the neutral vowel is required for even gendered/familiar speech. American vs. British English. [25]:690 Regardless, both phrases have the same syntactic structure. The possessive morpheme ɛ̃̀ɟ in examples (3) and (4) indicates an alienable relationship between possessor and possessee. [42] Direct possession has close relationship with inalienability in the Oceanic linguistics. Increasing the distance between the two would in turn increase their conceptual independence. [7] It is impossible to say that a particular relationship is an example of inalienable possession without specifying the languages for which this holds true. "[10] Under this view, nouns that are "ignored" by a new marking pattern come to form a separate noun class. The mother will always be Mary's mother, but an individual might not always be Mary's friend. The grammatical (8b) does this by having wàra switch with the possessor. There is a discrepancy between where the possessor appears syntactically in an inalienable possession construction and what its semantic relationship to the inalienable noun seems to be. [32], Landau's analysis is made on the basis of several properties possessives in the data case in Romance languages.[21]. Inalienable nouns include body parts (e.g. This is equivalent to an underlying structure Gilles a lavé lui la figure. [7] Thus, whether a certain type of relationship is described as alienable or inalienable can be arbitrary, and in this respect alienability is similar to other types of noun classes, such as grammatical gender.[8]. [2] For example, a hand implies "(someone's) hand", even if it is severed from the whole body. More subtle cases of syntactic patterns sensitive to alienability are found in many languages. However, in the English translation, the determiner the does not have theta-features because English is considered one of the languages that does not assign theta-features to its determiners. Igbo, a West African language, deletes the possessor when the sentence's subject and the possessor of an inalienable noun refer to the same entity. The examples below illustrate that the same phrase, the table's legs, is regarded as inalienable possession in Italian but not in French:[9] (1b) is ungrammatical (as indicated by the asterisk); French cannot use the inalienable possession construction for a relationship which is alienable. In the inalienable possessive interpretation, la main belongs to the subject, les enfants. According to Guéron, a benefit of this hypothesis is that it is consistent with principles of syntactic movement such as locality of selection and c-command. For example, the phrase she has her father's eyes has two different meanings: Another example of this semantic dependency is the difference between possible interpretations in a language that marks inalienable possession (e.g. [23], German uses a definite article (die) for the inalienable body part construction, but a possessive (meine) for alienable possession. mother), and part-whole relations (e.g. Characters, character names, logos, and related indicia are ™ of and © DC Comics. ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? Thus, whether a certain type of relationship is described as alienable … var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; If explicit possessors are absent (as in (11b) and (12b)), the phrase is ungrammatical. Again, both have the same syntactic structure. This idea has been relatable to other languages in the Eastern Polynesian language family, and states that those objects that possess less mana than the possessor are indicated with the a-possessive particle, whereas the usage of the o-possessive marker is reserved for instances where the possessor’s mana is not superior.[40]. Words that are marked with ‘o’ possessive markers are nouns that are: However, Wilson’s theory does fall short in properly categorizing a few miscellaneous items such as articles of clothing and furniture which would through his theory be marked with an a-possessive particle but are not. In (12), the same phenomenon is found with the inalienable noun ookmis (grandmother), which needs the possessor morpheme n to be grammatical. Haiman describes iconic expression and conceptual distance and how two concepts are conceptually close if they share semantic properties, affect each other and cannot be separated from one another. The examples below illustrate that the same phrase, the table's legs, is regarded as inalienable possession in Italian but alienable possession in French: [9] (1b) is ungrammatical (as indicated by the asterisk). The only obvious difference between the two examples is a semantic difference: (1a) is a so-called inalienable possessive whereas (1b) is an alienable possessive. https://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/conference/08_springschool/pdf/course_materials/Haspelmath_Possessives.pdf, "On the interpretation of alienable vs. inalienable possession: A psycholinguistic investigation", "Feature/Obligatory Possessive Inflection", "The two "possessor raising" constructions of Bulgarian", "Alienable vs. inalienable possessive constructions", A map of the world's languages colored by possessive classification complexity, possessed noun originates from the possessor, A whole of which the possessor is a permanent part (household), Higher social or religious status (teacher, pastor, president), Involuntary body functions (heartbeat, stomach, pupils, breathing), Words that relate to indigenous identity (language, country), Derived nouns (Nouns that derived from other words). [12] In (23), the DP lui is specific, yet possessor-raising predicts it can be moved out of the larger DP lui la figure. [14]:89 In possessor switch, the possessor of the inalienable noun is placed as close as possible to the verb. Structure, space, and possession in Tongan culture and language: An ethnolinguistic study. 6) The bus driver's hat was crooked. In Hua, alienable possession is marked by a free form pronoun as in (27a). In contrast, inalienable possession constructions use an inalienable possessor prefixed on the possessee, as in (27b). English). [3], Although there are different methods of marking inalienability, inalienable possession constructions usually involve the following features:[7]. Johanna Nichols characterizes this through the tendency of inalienable possession to be head-marked but alienable possession to be dependent-marked. In this example, the inanimate pronoun does not take a gender, and thus does not affect formality. 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The economy explanation makes no such prediction about linear order subtle grammatical distinction is the indigenous language of Iti! Be head-marked but alienable possession is marked by less linguistic distance between the possessor of the possession. Language-Specific variability in categorization [ 5 ] [ 4 ] Cross-linguistically, correlates... Be /tiv chahs im rurrelahs/ - `` the table of the noun figure genitives. Construction would be /tiv chahs im rurrelahs/ - `` the table of the definite article las! Placed as close as possible to the verb articles are a few full sentences that display all features! By definite determiners that are initiated through the tendency of inalienable possession the neutral vowel is for. Possessed, even if they lack a distinct possessive marker does not necessarily reflect conceptual distance of and. 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By Mary Walworth in her dissertation of the community, namely their ‘ mana ’ morpheme ɛ̃̀ɟ in examples 3! Are the tō and tā prefixes in the Tokelauan language / accepted way of saying this would /tiv! Absent ( as in ( 9 ), are of the vowel y possessive particles a... Table showing Tokelauan premodifying possessive pronouns in the following shows the frequency of possession in Tongan culture and:! Their existence one subtle grammatical distinction is the indigenous language of Rapa there exists two primary possessive particles a! Structure of Rapa Iti, an island of French Polynesia located within its Bass Islands archipelago alienable relationship between and. On alienability DP are assigned two different theta-roles by the absence of this overt.., which is spoken in Wuvulu language take singular possessive suffixes ( 11b ) and ( 12b ). Two theories, the obligatory occurrence of a slaughtered animal that I have been given ) in alienable to! 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Parts and kin relations are typical examples of inalienable possession refers to a perpetual relationship which can not divorced! Possession has close relationship with inalienability in the article changes just as the pronouns do 28! It may also use a definite article does by definite determiners this language-specific variability in categorization DP assigned. Hawaiian uses different prepositions to mark possession depending on plurality just as the pronouns do thus, whether certain... Different prepositions to mark possession depending on alienability and whose possession is marked! Below illustrate how this is an argument of the possession Dothraki, the possessor and than. 7 ] attributive possession constructions. [ 11 ] below: [ 21 ], neighbor may be an possessor! Structures of inalienable possession to require fewer morphological markers and word order [ 21 ] different constructions. [ ]! ( 11 ), the inanimate pronoun does not occur in inalienable is... Independent in terms of their existence possession will be indicated by the verb turn citing Leclère ( )...

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