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STUF - Language Typology and Universals

Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung

Editor-in-Chief: Stolz, Thomas

CiteScore 2018: 0.42

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Volume 69, Issue 1


The syntax of external and internal possessor variation in German inalienable possession

Vera Lee-Schoenfeld
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  • Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies/Linguistics, The University of Georgia, 209 Joseph E. Brown Hall, Athens, GA 30602, USA
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Published Online: 2016-03-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/stuf-2016-0005


German inalienable possession constructions with a PP-embedded possessum come in three variants: (i) with external possessor (EP), (ii) with internal possessor (IP), and (iii) with doubly-marked possession (DMP). Choice of dat(ive) versus acc(usative) case adds two more options. To capture this variation with a formal-syntactic account, this contribution posits (a) possessor raising from Spec DP of the possessum to affectee vP, triggered by lack of case in Spec DP, for dat EPs, (b) a base-generation possessor-as-direct-object analysis of acc EPs, (c) gen(itive) as last resort, triggered by the lack of a case licensor in the verbal domain, for IPs, and (d) a combined base-generation and gen-as-last-resort analysis of DMPs.

Keywords: inalienable possession; internal vs. external possession; possessor dative; possessor raising; genitive as last resort


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-03-01

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: STUF - Language Typology and Universals, Volume 69, Issue 1, Pages 113–129, ISSN (Online) 2196-7148, ISSN (Print) 1867-8319, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/stuf-2016-0005.

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