Fw: Possession/modification by simple juxtaposition

Raffaele Simone simone at UNIROMA3.IT
Fri Nov 21 13:33:48 UTC 2008

In Old French, Old Spanish and, to a lesser extent, in Old Italian, the requested structures were widespread in texts. Today their traces are in toponomastics and in some expressions:

Old French
Bourg-la-Reine (< Bourg de la reine)
Ho^tel-Dieu (< Ho^tel de Dieu)
la part-Dieu (< la part de Dieu)
Pont-l'Eve^que (< pont de l'éve^que)
la Dieu merci (< merci de Dieu)
la Complainte Rutebeuf

Old Spanish
Puenterrey (<Puente el rey)
Puente la reina

Old Italian
la Dio mercé (<la mercé di Dio)

Moreover, the Arabic construction called status constructus behaves more or less the same way.
R Simone

Dipartimento di Linguistica
Università Roma Tre
via Ostiense 236
I 00146 Roma
Pubblicazioni, preprints e attività // Publications, preprints and activities

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Spencer, Andrew J" <spena at ESSEX.AC.UK>
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 12:02 PM
Subject: Possession/modification by simple juxtaposition

> We are interested in finding languages that express possession and adjectival modification in the same way, namely, by means of pure juxtaposition, without any other morphosyntactic marking (agreement, adpositions, case marking etc.). In other words, we're looking for languages with the following construction types (head-initial/head-final; the linear order doesn't matter to us and the language doesn't have to have a consistent head position):
> good book:             book good // good book
> the name of (the) boy: name [(the) boy] // (the) boy name
> Gwen's book/mother:    book/mother Gwen// Gwen book/mother
> A language which is close to what we're looking for is Spoken Welsh (head-initial):
> good book:
> llyfr   da     
> book    good   
> the name of the boy:
> enw   y    bachgen
> name  the  boy
> the name of a boy:
> enw    bachgen
> name   boy
> Gwen's book:   llyfr Gwen   
> Gwen's mother: mam Gwen   
> However, in Welsh, adjectives take the soft mutation when they modify FEM.SG nouns, so this isn't a 'pure' example of the language type we're looking for.
> If you know of a language with these properties please contact Andrew Spencer: spena at essex.ac.uk.
> We'll put together a synopsis of the replies. (You don't need to reply to the whole list.)
> Andrew Spencer, University of Essex
> Irina Nikolaeva, School of Oriental and African Studies
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