Possession/modification by simple juxtaposition
gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Sat Nov 22 16:49:53 UTC 2008
Re the Semitic construct state: I add my voice to those who have
pointed out that this is NOT a case of simple juxtaposition. In Hebrew,
too, like in Arabic, attributive possession may be expressed in a
construction of the form N-CONTSR N; while there are, admittedly, some
instances of syncretism betwen construct and absolute states (eg. many
masculine singulars, and many feminine plurals), this does not justify
characterizing the construction is involving simple juxtaposition.
Re the Västerbotten dialect: I would tend to agree with Östen Dahl that,
as compounds, they don't really belong in the same boat as true
Finally, since this discussion seems to have become public, I append
below the comments which I sent earlier today to Andrew Spencer,
containing some examples of what I think ARE bona fide instances of
simpe juxtaposition ...
What you're looking for is very common in the languages of Indonesia.
Off the top of my head, Malay/Indonesian (Standard Malay/Indonesian,
Riau Indonesian, Jakarta Indonesian), Minangkabau, and Sundanese, all
have this pattern, with modifiers occurring postnominally, eg. (from
buku bagus 'book good'
nama anak 'name child'
buku Gwen 'Gwen's book'
ibu Gwen 'Gwen's mother'
all with no additional morphology or other markings of the respective
construction. I'd be surprised if there weren't dozens of other
languages in western Indonesia that worked like this.
In the east of the archipelago, genitives switch to prenominal, but some
languages still allow for bare juxtaposition, eg. Papuan Malay ...
anak nama (for some reason I'm not sure about this one, and would have
to doublecheck with a speaker before you cited it)
In my papers on Riau Indonesian I've discussed at some length the multi-
(or rather macro-)functionality of bare juxtaposition in that language.
Also, I have a chapter in the World Atlas of Language Structures (map
60, "Genitives, Adjectives and Relative Clauses"), which deals with
various patterns of coalescence of these three functions (albeit not
specifically with the bare juxtaposition option.)
Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550119
Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
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