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Re: THEORY: genitive vs. construct case/izafe

From:Thomas Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Saturday, July 23, 2005, 16:34
Julia wrote:
> After some browsing of grammars and pondering over data, I've come up > with the following hypothesis: > > In a noun-noun (or noun-pronoun) construction that indicates > possession or affiliation, if the possessor is marked, its form is > called "genitive", and if the possessed is marked, its form is > called "construct". A construction of this type where the possessed > is marked is called "izafe", even if the possessor is marked as > well. If only the possessor is marked, the construction is called > "genitive phrase". > > Does this sound about right?
I would avoid use of the term "izafe" and "construct case" as they are too closely linked to the discussion in traditional grammars of particular constructions that may not be easily generalizable crosslinguistically. They can be, moreover, confusing in the other direction, since their properties can vary from language to language quite a lot. Take the following discussion from a page I googled: Izafe is the traditional term in Iranian philology for the vocalic particle by which posthead nominal modifiers arc linked to their head nouns. In Persian, the Izafe particle is invariant; in Kurmanji Kurdish it inflects for gender and number of the head noun; but in Zazaki, it inflects for (i) gender and number of the head; (ii) category of the modifier (adjective vs. noun); (iii) syntactic function of the entire NP in the clause. It is my understanding that ezafe constructions by no means always single out possessa, and so I would say that there are no real reasons to use it here. Rather, if you want to talk about head-marking possession, do so in those words. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>