Possession and also ownership—vignettes

R. M. W. Dixon

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 also ownership—vignettes

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This chapter has three parts. There is discussion of languages which do not have a verb ‘have’ but instead use just comitative (‘with’) and privative (‘without’) markers, or a possessive form; for example, ‘My spears are two’ for ‘I have two spears’, and ‘I am dog-without’ for ‘I don't have a dog’. This is illustrated from the Australian language Dyirbal. Secondly, we see how in some languages it is the alienable possessor which is head of an inalienable possession construction marked by apposition; for example ‘John’ is head for the NP ‘John['s] foot’. Illustration here comes from the Amazonian language Jarawara and from Dyirbal. The final section considers the semantic range, in English, of verb own and various forms of possess. It then briefly reflects on the extent to which ‘name’, ‘language’, and ‘land’ may be regarded as being either possessed or owned within various types of culture.

Keywords: possession; inalienable possession; ownership; Dyirbal; Jarawara; English

Chapter.  7086 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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