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Possession (was: Re: Ergative)

From:Matt Pearson <mpearson@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 21, 1998, 7:03
>JOEL MATTHEW PEARSON wrote: >> I don't know anything about Old English, but I wouldn't be surprised >> if you'd hit the nail on the head. Certainly the German equivalent >> "Weh ist mir" is a be+dative construction. > >Cool. What got me to wondering about that is the fact that Latin used >_esse_ + dative for "have" sometimes.
Use of BE + a dative or locative expression to denote "have" is quite common. Both Russian and Hindi express "I have a book" as "a book is beside me". I think the Celtic languages do this as well. So do Hungarian, Finnish, and Turkish. What's less common, I think, is having both a BE + dative/locative and a HAVE construction in the same language (as in Latin and French). Tokana adopts the BE + dative construction for representing possession: Imai he halma me:DAT is book "to-me (there) is a book" i.e. "I have a book (with me)" There are also other ways of expressing possession in Tokana. To denote alienable possession (ownership of material objects), the verb "eha" = "belong to, be owned" is used: Imai eha ante halma me:DAT belong many book "I own many books" To express kinship possession, or possession of land or animals (things which one has stewardship over), the verb "iala" = "be the responsibility of" is used: Imai iala hen lihpa me:DAT be-responsible two sister "I have two sisters" Itai kameima iala hen talpe uet the:DAT family-DAT-my be-responsible two field barley "My family has/owns/works/takes care of two barley fields" To express a part-whole type of relationship, e.g. possession of body parts, the verbs "yma" = "include" and "enyma" = "consist of" are used: Imai yma inie lune me:DAT include pair-of-eyes blue "I have blue eyes" Itai katiai enyma ehte kotu the:DAT house-DAT consist-of three room "This house has three rooms" or "This is a three-room house" Matt. ------------------------------------ Matt Pearson UCLA Linguistics Department 405 Hilgard Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543 ------------------------------------