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The Linguistic Review

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Volume 31, Issue 3-4 (Sep 2014)


Case stacking below the surface: On the possessor case alternation in Udmurt

Anke Assmann
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Leipzig
  • Email:
/ Svetlana Edygarova
  • University of Helsinki
  • Email:
/ Doreen Georgi
  • University of Leipzig
  • Email:
/ Timo Klein
  • University of Leipzig
  • Email:
/ Philipp Weisser
  • University of Leipzig
  • Email:
Published Online: 2014-09-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2014-0007


In this paper we investigate the case split on the possessor in Udmurt. Traditionally, the choice between ablative and genitive possessor case is said to be driven by the grammatical function (GF) of the XP containing the possessor. We argue that the case split is not driven by GFs; rather, it is determined by the case value of the XP that contains the possessor. Importantly, there is no evidence which points to a possessor raising analysis in Udmurt. Instead, we present an analysis according to which the possessor always bears genitive but may be assigned another structural case by an external head. Due to a morphological constraint, stacked case features fuse into a single feature set in the postsyntactic morphological component. If accusative and genitive stack on the possessor, only the default semantic case marker, i.e., the ablative marker, can realize the resulting feature set. In any other context the genitive marker is chosen. We thus claim that there is no abstract ablative on the possessor; instead, the morphological ablative marker realizes a combination of two abstract structural cases.

Keywords: case stacking; case split; possessor raising; abstract vs. morphological case; Uralic languages

About the article

Published Online: 2014-09-04

Published in Print: 2014-09-01

Citation Information: The Linguistic Review, ISSN (Online) 1613-3676, ISSN (Print) 0167-6318, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2014-0007.

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