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LINGUIST List 21.4402

Wed Nov 03 2010

Disc: Data Request: Possessives in Nilo-Saharan

Editor for this issue: Elyssa Winzeler <elyssalinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Eva Dobler , Data Request: Possessives in Nilo-Saharan

Message 1: Data Request: Possessives in Nilo-Saharan
Date: 29-Oct-2010
From: Eva Dobler <eva.doblermail.mcgill.ca>
Subject: Data Request: Possessives in Nilo-Saharan
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I’m writing a PhD thesis on possessive DPs and I have a few questions with
respect to DPs in Nilo-Saharan languages. It would be really great if
someone could help me at least with respect to one or two of the questions
below. I have mostly focused on Acholi and Lango so far but if you can only
answer these questions with respect to Dholuo or some other closely related
language that would also help me a lot.

(1a) Is it possible to modify an inalienably possessed noun inside the DP?
It’s difficult in any language but could you say something like 'Today,
[his good leg] is hurting him too.' or 'Today, [Onoko’s bad leg] is hurting
him again.' in a context where Onoko has one healthy and one crippled leg,
and the latter is causing him pain on a regular basis.

(1b) What about non-restrictive modification? Is it possible to say
something like 'He is proud of [his strong legs]' or would you have to say
something like '[His legs] are strong'?

(2) If the possessor ‘the man’ in example (i) was replaced with the pronoun
‘his’, could the sentence look like in (ii) or would the word order have to
be different?

i) gwóggî à lócә̀ àdɛ́kk à dɔ̀ŋɔ̀ àmɛ̂ dákô ònɛ̀nònì
dogs att-part man att+part-three att+part big rel+part woman 3s-see-perf this
'these three big dogs of the man that the woman saw'
(Noonan 1992: Grammar of Lango, p. 154, ex. 1)

ii) gwók’ɛ́rɛ̂ àdɛ́kk à dɔ̀ŋɔ̀ àmɛ̂ dákô ònɛ̀nònì

(3) If possessed nouns are modified as in the example in (i) above, is this
attributive modification or restrictive modification (i.e., is the speaker
referring to the big dogs as opposed to the small dogs or is he talking
about the dogs which happen to be big), or could it be either depending on
the context/intonation?

Thank you very much in advance,
Eva Dobler

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Acholi (ach)
                            Lango (laj)
                            Luo (luo)
Language Family(ies): Nilo-Saharan

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