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
_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.
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