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YAEGT: 's (was Re: Standard Average European (was: case system))

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Sunday, April 13, 2008, 19:17

On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 13:49:28 -0500, Eric Christopherson wrote:

> I read somewhere that at one time the possessive suffix <'s> was > reinterpreted as being a contraction of <his>; some grammarians at > that time thus commented that it was illogical to use <'s> for a > female possessor, preferring something like "the queen her crown". I > think they also sometimes expanded the "contraction", writing things > like "the king his castle". I'm not sure how they treated inanimate > possessors.
_the house its door_? But the _'s_ genitive is avoided with inanimate possessors generally.
> In any event, that analysis of <'s> didn't last.
Actually, a contraction of "his", later generalized to the feminine, seems a more likely origin of _'s_ to me than the Old English (< PIE) genitive suffix _-s_. Modern English _'s_ is a clitic attaching to the last element of the genitive NP (see _the King of England's castle_) rather than a true suffix; and clitics usually form from words and not from suffixes. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>