External possession and possessor raising


External possession is a phenomenon where a nominal is syntactically encoded as a verbal dependent but semantically understood as the possessor of one of its co-arguments. While the general pattern is crosslinguistically very common, there is much variation in its precise syntax and semantics. In this chapter I review the classic analyses of external possession as possessor raising and possessor binding. The evidence behind these analyses indicates that raising and binding are indeed each appropriate for certain subtypes of external possession, as is an analysis in terms of movement to thematic positions. I propose a typology which groups these analyses under the first of two major types of external possession. This first type presents significant parallels to the domain of raising and control, subsuming possessor raising, possessor binding, possessor control and a variant of ECM. Examples are found in Nez Perce, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and English. A second major type of external possession involves subjects only and brings information structural effects. Examples are found in Malagasy, Chickasaw, Tz’utujil, and Japanese.

Amy Rose Deal
Publication date: 
January 1, 2017
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Deal, Amy Rose. 2017. External possession and possessor raising. In Martin Everaert and Henk van Riemsdijk (eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax, 2nd edition, pp. 1509-1540. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell