[Lingtyp] Comments on Differential internal possessors in Lingtyp Digest, Vol 40, Issue 13

András Bárány andras.barany at soas.ac.uk
Thu Jan 11 13:08:24 UTC 2018

Dear Françoise, dear Martin,

thanks for your messages! According to Seržant & Witzlack-Makarevich
(2017), Differential Argument Marking can be

a) argument-triggered (reflecting internal lexical properties of the
argument, its morphological properties or non-inherent discourse
properties; or dependent on event semantics)

b) predicate-triggered (reflecting clause type, TAM, polarity etc.)

One of the topics of the workshop is to explore whether this is parallel
to Differential Possessor Marking. Some preliminary work suggests that
this can be the case, and we do discuss languages like the ones you
mention, for example Tundra Nenets. See the full call for papers for
details: https://swl8.sciencesconf.org/resource/page/id/7

Maybe this has sparked your interest to submit!

All the best,


On 11/01/18 08:40, lingtyp-request at listserv.linguistlist.org wrote:

> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2018 21:28:06 +0100
> From: Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>
> To: <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
> Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] differential internal possessors
> Message-ID: <5A567756.6080600 at shh.mpg.de>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"; Format="flowed"
> This looks like an interesting workshop, and it is useful to have a new 
> concept of "differential internal possession" (or maybe "differential 
> ad(nominal)possession"? cf. the shortened term "adpossessive 
> construction 
> <https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zfsw.2017.36.issue-2/zfs-2017-0009/zfs-2017-0009.xml>", 
> for adnominal possessive construction).
> But what exactly falls under this concept?
> The notion of "differential argument marking" is generally applied to 
> cases where the marking of an argument type depends on its own 
> properties, rather than on the verb. Thus, differential object marking 
> refers to cases where an object is marked differently depending on its 
> definiteness, or animacy, or pronominality – and NOT when it is marked 
> differently depending on the verb, e.g. dative-marked or adpositionally 
> marked. (The latter situation normally falls under the heading of 
> "valency classes".)
> So if differential adpossessor marking is parallel to differential 
> argument marking, it should refer to cases like Nganasan (Wagner-Nagy 
> 2014), where personal pronoun adpossessors take no Genitive (and require 
> possessive indexing on the possessed noun), while full-nominal 
> adpossessors must be in the Genitive (and need not be cross-indexed on 
> the noun).
> In some cases, alternative possessive constructions are perhaps best 
> treated as *alternations* (comparable to the English dative 
> alternation), because both constructions are possible with the same 
> nouns under the same grammatical conditions (e.g. German "die Katze 
> meines Vaters / die Katze von meinem Vater" 'my father's cat'), with 
> subtle pragmatic differences.
> In many other cases, alternative possessive constructions occur with 
> different classes of nouns (alienable/inalienable) and are thus 
> analogous to valency classes of verbs.
> Of course, these three types (1: conditioned by grammatical class of 
> adpossessor / 2: both occur side by side / 3: conditioned by lexical 
> class of possessed noun) are ideal types, and there are intermediate or 
> fuzzy cases, but it would be useful if the terminology were fully 
> parallel in the verbal and nomonal domains.
> Martin

> Message: 6
> Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2018 09:40:28 +0100
> From: "Francoise Rose" <Francoise.Rose at univ-lyon2.fr>
> To: "'Martin Haspelmath'" <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>,
> 	<lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
> Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] differential internal possessors
> Message-ID: <000001d38ab7$d5ae6220$810b2660$@univ-lyon2.fr>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Hi all,
> Different adnominal possessive constructions related to the so-called
> «alienable/inalienable » distinction are not necessarily dependent on
> the lexical class of the possessee. In Amazonian languages, you can
> find different constructions for:
> -the basket that I made vs. the basket that I bought
> -my meat (my own flesh) vs. my meat (the flesh of the animal I have
> killed, or I am eating)
> In these cases, the choice of the construction depends neither on the
> lexical class of the noun nor on the semantics of the possessor
> (which would call for the term “differential”), but rather on the
> semantic type of relationship between possessor and possessee.
> Still in this case, I agree with Martin that the alternation is not
> parallel to what is called “differential argument marking” in the
> predicate domain, because it does not depend on the properties of the
> possessor.
> Best,
> Françoise

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