Re: THEORY: genitive vs. construct case/izafe
|From:||Thomas Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, July 23, 2005, 16:34|
> 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