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

  • 1 University of Leipzig
  • 2 University of Helsinki

Abstract

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.

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The Linguistic Review publishes high-quality papers in syntax, semantics, phonology and morphology within a framework of Generative Grammar and related disciplines, as well as critical discussions of theoretical linguistics as a branch of cognitive psychology. The journal welcomes reviews of important new monographs in these areas, dissertation abstracts and letters to the editor.

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