LINGUIST List 23.5324

Tue Dec 18 2012

Books: Possession and Ownership: Aikhenvald, Dixon (Eds)

Editor for this issue: Rebekah McClure <>

Date: 12-Dec-2012
From: Helen Boyd <>
Subject: Possession and Ownership: Aikhenvald, Dixon (Eds)
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Title: Possession and OwnershipPublication Year: 2012Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Editor: Alexandra Y AikhenvaldEditor: R. M. W. Dixon

Hardback: ISBN: 9780199660223 Pages: 352 Price: U.K. £ 65.00


Possession and Ownership brings together linguists and anthropologists in aseries of cross-linguistic explorations of expressions used to denotepossession and ownership, concepts central to most if not all the variedcultures and ideologies of humankind. Possessive noun phrases can be broadlydivided into three categories - ownership of property, whole-part relations(such as body and plant parts), and blood and affinal kinship relations. AsProfessor Aikhenvald shows in her extensive opening essay, the same possessivenoun or pronoun phrase is used in English and in many other Indo-Europeanlanguages to express possession of all three kinds - as in "Ann and herhusband Henry live in the castle Henry's father built with his own hands" -but that this is by no means the case in all languages. In some, for example,the grammar expresses the inalienability of consanguineal kinship andsometimes also of sacred or treasured objects. Furthermore the degree to whichpossession and ownership are conceived as the same (when possession is 100% ofthe law) differs from one society to another, and this may be reflected intheir linguistic expression. Like others in the series this pioneering bookwill be welcomed equally by linguists and anthropologists.

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics Sociolinguistics Syntax

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 18-Dec-2012