Possession and modification—a perspective from Canonical Typology

Irina Nikolaeva and Andrew Spencer

in Canonical Morphology and Syntax

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199604326
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746154 | DOI:
Possession and modification—a perspective from Canonical Typology

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The chapter addresses a set of semantic, syntactic, and categorial criteria for canonical attributive modification and canonical inalienable possession. Canonical attributive modification is expressed by a dedicated word class (adjective) denoting a property concept, while canonical possession is inalienable possession of a relation noun (kin term, (body) part). Irina Nikolaeva and Andrew Spencer argue that modification-by-noun and alienable possession constructions can be analysed as non-canonical variants of canonical modification and possession. In many languages the same morphosyntax is used to express various combinations of the four constructions and the authors explore some of the typological variation in terms of selective violations of canonical properties.

Keywords: alienable possession; inalienable possession; attributive modification; modification-by-noun; possession–modification scale; canonical typology

Chapter.  12574 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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