Possessive constructions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé)

Felix K. Ameka

in Possession and Ownership

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

Series: Explorations in Linguistic Typology

Possessive constructions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé)

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This chapter surveys adnominal and predicative possessive constructions in Likpe, a Na-Ghana-Togo-Mountain, Kwa (Niger-Congo) language. Likpe is a split possessor language in which pronominal possessors are juxtaposed to their possesses while nominal possessors are linked by a marker eto. Such nominal possessive structures primarily signal association between the entities. I argue that the prototype of possession is not “ownership" but rather a “bio-cultural relationship”. A split possessee distinction involving ‘grandfather’, ‘grandmother’ and ‘family’ is emerging due to contact with Ewe. There is also the use of a SEE verb to express a HAVE relation which may also be contact-induced. Predicate possession also involves locative verbs and the cognitive connection between location and possession is via existence. Body parts enter into various clause level external possessive constructions giving evidence of inalienability in the grammar. Possessive constructions are shown to be a fertile domain for the exploration of language-culture reflexive relations.

Keywords: Likpe; contact-induced change; split-possession; inalienabilty; body parts; external possessive constructions; location; existence; association; language-culture-nexus

Chapter.  6754 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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