Possession and ownership: a cross linguistic perspective

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

in Possession and Ownership

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660223
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745096 | DOI:

Series: Explorations in Linguistic Typology

Possession and ownership: a cross linguistic perspective

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The notion of possession is manifold, and typically subsumes part-whole and kinship relationships, in addition to ownership proper. Based on intensive investigation of several hundred languages, this chapter investigates the expression of possession within a noun phrase, with special attention to classifiers employed within possessive constructions. We then turn to predicative possession, incorporation in possessive constructions, and the ways in which possessive markers can be used to express other functions. Marking possession often changes under the impact of language contact. Societal changes can be reflected in the ways possession is expressed. We focus specifically on linguistic expression of possession and ownership of land, and of language, suggesting tentative correlations between linguistic and societal structures.

Keywords: possession; ownership; part-whole relations; kinship relations; possessive classifiers; relational classifiers; possessive verbs; noun incorporation

Chapter.  26281 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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