This book is a detailed study of the possessive semantic space within the
framework of construction grammar. Using corpus data from Old Church
Slavonic and Old Russian, the book uses semantic maps to document the
relationship between form and meaning in a set of semantically closely
related syntactic constructions that can all express adnominal possession
and all partially overlap. The book also traces the development of these
constructions from the earliest Slavic attestations towards Modern Russian,
thus also using the semantic maps as a diachronic tool.
This approach results in a much improved analysis of the data at hand: The
competing possessive constructions are treated as partly synonymous
constructions in the same semantic space. Changes are then seen to follow
paths in this space. The constructionist perspective also allows discerning
the relative contributions of the possessor nominal, the possessee nominal
and properties of the constructions themselves.
The book is a contribution to Slavic historical linguistics, to the general
understanding of adnominal possession and to forwarding functionalist
approaches to syntactic change.