[Lingtyp] query: possessives and animacy

Paolo Ramat paoram at unipv.it
Thu Feb 2 06:30:22 EST 2017

As for point (1), remember Anc.Gk.  pànta (NTR.Pl.)  rhéi (3Sg.) "everything 
[lit. all things] passes"
Unfortunately I'm not aware of lgs. having the property (2).


Prof.Paolo Ramat
Università di Pavia
Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori (IUSS Pavia)
-----Messaggio originale----- 
From: David Gil
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2017 11:52 AM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: [Lingtyp] query: possessives and animacy

Dear all,

Is anybody familiar with languages in which:

(1) NPs exhibit different properties (coding, syntactic behaviour, or
whatever) depending on whether they're animate or inanimate; and

(2) If an NPs consists of possessor and possessed nouns, where the
possessor is animate and the possessed is inanimate, such NPs are
treated as animate, even though the inanimate possessed noun is
otherwise the head of the NP.  (For example, in such a language, "John's
book" would be considered animate.)

I am currently working on such a case, and am wondering how commonplace
this is, and whether analyses have already been proposed for similar
patterns in other languages.  (I have a vague recollection of having
encountered something similar in the past, but can't quite place it.)
In principle one could imagine analogous mismatches for features other
than animacy.



David Gil

Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816

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