inalienable possession and core arguments

Kilu von Prince prince at ZAS.GWZ-BERLIN.DE
Fri May 30 06:51:20 UTC 2014

Dear Sergey,

Partee and Borschev 2003 are probably the first to speak of "transitive
nouns", as does Barker 2011 and as do I in a proceedings paper to be
downloaded here:

However, as I have argued in a recent talk (see attachment), valency or
transitivity is a lexical property of nouns while the alienability
distinction is in part independent from the lexical properties of the
possessed noun since one and the same (intransitive) noun can occur both in
structures expressing alienable and inalienable possession in languages
that mark this difference productively. If you could send a draft outlining
your point about Akkadian, I would be very interested to see that.


On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 7:31 AM, Sergey Lyosov <sergelyosov at> wrote:

> Dear all,
> have you ever read/thought about reinterpreting “inalienable possession”
> (within noun phrases) in terms of nominal valency? I.e., certain semantic
> kinds of nouns display valency slots that have to be filled by all means
> (e.g., a kinship role ‘[one’s] son’, an action noun ‘[one’s] crossing [of
> something]’), and these core arguments are encoded differently from
> non-obligatory arguments. In zero approximation, an English example would
> be ‘Jacob’s son’ as against ‘the son of his old age.’ Akkadian is a
> language that is keen on morphologically opposing core and non-core
> arguments in its noun phrases.
>   Thank you very much,
>    Sergey
> Sergey Loesov
> Oriental Institute
> RussianStateUniversity for the Humanities
> 6 Miusskaya pl. Moscow 125267, Russia.
> Tel.: (7095) 250-6733, (7095) 250-6994.

Kilu von Prince
Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (Center for General Linguistics)
Schützenstr. 18
10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 20192 422
Email: prince at
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