New Benjamins book - Stolz et al.: Split Possession

Paul Peranteau paul at
Thu Jul 10 17:16:16 UTC 2008

Split Possession
An areal-linguistic study of the alienability correlation and related 
phenomena in the languages of Europe

Thomas Stolz, Sonja Kettler, Cornelia Stroh and Aina Urdze
University of Bremen

Studies in Language Companion Series 101

2008. x, 546 pp.

Hardbound  978 90 272 0568 1 / EUR 130.00 / USD 195.00

This book is a functional-typological study of possession splits in 
European languages. It shows that genetically and structurally 
diverse languages such as Icelandic, Welsh, and Maltese display 
possessive systems which are sensitive to semantically based 
distinctions reminiscent of the alienability correlation. These 
distinctions are grammatically relevant in many European languages 
because they require dedicated constructions. What makes these split 
possessive systems interesting for the linguist is the interaction of 
semantic criteria with pragmatics and syntax. Neutralisation of 
distinctions occurs under focus. The same happens if one of the 
constituents of a possessive construction is syntactically heavy. 
These effects can be observed in the majority of the 50 sample 
languages. Possessive splits are strong in those languages which are 
outside the Standard Average European group. The bulk of the European 
languages do not behave much differently from those non-European 
languages for which possession splits are reported. The book reveals 
interesting new facts about European languages and possession to 
typologists, universals researchers, and areal linguists.


Table of contents

Preface  vii–viii
List of abbreviations  ix–x
Part A: What needs to be known beforehand
Chapter 1. Introduction  3–9
Chapter 2. Prerequisites  11–28
Chapter 3. Split possession  29–40
Part B: Tour d'Europe
Chapter 4. Grammatical possession splits  43–315
Chapter 5. Further evidence of possession splits in Europe  317–465
Part C: On European misfits and their commonalities
Chapter 6. Results  469–516
Notes  517–519
Sources  521–524
References  525–533
Additional background literature  535–538
Index of languages  539–540
Index of authors  541–544
Index of subjects  545–546

Paul Peranteau (paul at
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John Benjamins Publishing Company
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