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Definitely Not Possessed? Possessive Suffixes with Definiteness Marking Function

  • Doris GerlandEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 94)

Abstract

In this paper I argue that the definiteness marking function of the possessive suffix of some Uralic languages is not the outcome of a grammaticalization pathway but has always been inherent to them. The possessive suffix has thus two main functions: establishing a relation between entities or a relation between an entity and the discourse and indicating the definiteness of the referent of the marked noun. The interpretation of the suffix as a marker of definiteness or a marker of possession depends on the conceptual noun type of the marked noun and on the context.

Keywords

Concept types Grammaticalization Uralic languages Definiteness Possession 

Abbreviations

abl

Ablative

acc

Accusative

all

Allative

dat

Dative

dem

Demonstrative

demin

Deminutivum/Diminutive

emph

Emphasis

ep

Epenthetic vowel

exl

Exclamative

gen

Genitive

imp

Imperative

ine

Inessive

inf

Infinitive

ins

Instrumental

lat

Lative

loc

Locative

narr

Narrative

neg

Negation

obj

Objective conjugation

part

Participle

pf

Perfect

ptpass

Participium passivum

prosec

Prosecutive

prs/pst

Present

prt

Preterite

sub

Subjective conjugation

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research for this article was supported by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) grant Research Unit FOR 600 “Functional Concepts and Frames”. I would like to thank Christian Horn, Sebastian Löbner, Albert Ortmann and Melani Wratil for discussion, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Information ScienceHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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