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Re: THEORY: genitive vs. construct case/izafe

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Friday, July 22, 2005, 12:05

"Julia \"Schnecki\" Simon" <helicula@...> writes:
> Hello! > > While designing a case system for my (still unnamed) conlang project, > I started wondering about some terminology. You see, I'd really like > to have izafe (construct case/construct case constructions/whatever), > but I'm not sure about the difference between genitive case and > construct case.
Quite easy: the opposite noun is marked. Genitive marks the modifier and the modified is marked for case of the whole phrase, while a construct case marks the modified and the modifier carries the case of the whole phrase. Assume the whole phrase is in case X, then you get: Modifier-GEN Modified-X == Modifier-X Modified-CONSTR (Of course, order is insignificant in the example here and depends on language.)
> (Should I write "izafe" or "idafe"/"idafa"? The latter feels sort of > silly to me, since without Unicode I can't spell it properly. And the > ArabTeX transliteration "i.dAfaT" doesn't look like a good alternative > in this otherwise TeX-free mail, either... so I tend towards the > Turkish spelling, for which plain ASCII is sufficient.)
I don't know I've never read that and only know 'construct case'. I assume that's Semitic terminology?
> But what about other (i.e. non-Semitic) languages that mark the > possessed either instead of or in addition to the possessor? For > example, > > Turkish _ev_ "house", _kapI_ "door", _ev kapIsI_ "front door" > (generic term; a specific front door, i.e. the front door of a > specific house, is _evin kapIsI_ with _ev_ in genitive case; > _-(s)I_ is the 3sg possessive marker, so _ev(in) kapIsI_ > literally means "(of-)house its-door") > > Hungarian _fiú_ "boy", _könyv_ "book", _a fiú könyve_ "the boy's > book" (with _könyv_ bearing the 3sg possessive marker _-e_, so a > literal translation would be "the boy his-book") (Note that there > is no genitive case in Hungarian AFAIK.) > > Could these constructions be called izafe? If not, what should I call > them?
Hmm, unfortunately, I do not know about the construction in these langs. I'd say it's a genitive case construction, since the modified will be marked for the phrase's case. In colloquial German, there is a similar construction -- so the 3rd persion possessive pronouns seems common in conjunction with genitive (only Germans colloquial construction uses dative case): the house = das Haus his house = sein Haus (NOM) the father = der Vater (NOM) des Vaters (GEN) dem Vater (DAT) ... Either: das Haus des Vaters NOM GEN and colloquially: dem Vater sein Haus DAT NOM The modified is still in case of the whole construction (here: nominative), so it's a genitive construction. If you change the case of the whole phrase, 'the house' changes. In construct constructions, the father should change, but here: in dem Vater seinem Haus = in the father's house DAT DAT
> And what about languages where the possessor-possessed relationship is > expressed simply by juxtaposing two nouns, or a noun and a pronoun, > without any case markings ("of-Peter book"), possessor affixes ("Peter > his-book"), connecting particles (like Mandarin _de_), or similar? > What do we call that kind of construction?
If you don't have cases, it's difficult to say, of course, and maybe irrelevant. Still: the difference is what part is marked for the modification and which one is marked for the whole phrase. Since 'the book of' is not a phase while 'of Peter' is, this is a 'genitive' construction to me. And in Mandarin, you can say: 'Zhe shi wo de' = It is *mine*, so also, 'de' is part of the modifier, so this is also more a 'genitive' construction. **Henrik


Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>