Varieties of Genitive

Yury A. Lander

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Varieties of Genitive

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Linguistic Typology


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Genitive is basically an adnominal case and in fact, a basic adnominal case. Its core function is to mark a nominal whose referent (possessor) is connected by a possessive relation to the individual expressed by the phrase within which the genitive phrase is embedded (possessum). Hence, genitive constructions are a kind of possessive construction (possessive) and any discussion of genitives requires a discussion of possessives in general. Possessive relations are usually induced from the context or the lexical semantics of the corresponding nominals. Since genitive marking is not uniform, it is convenient to begin its description with an excursion into formal types of possessives in general. Possessives utilise various means of marking, which can be classified according to numerous parameters, including the locus of marking, indexing, and the degree of synthesis. Genitive constructions often contrast with possessives of different kinds, which occasionally restricts the use of a genitive marker to certain classes of nominals. This article examines the functional varieties and polysemy patterns of the genitive case.

Keywords: genitive case; adnominal case; possessive; possessum; locus; genitive marking; indexing; synthesis; polysemy; genitive constructions

Article.  3459 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Linguistic Typology

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