LINGUIST List 29.912

Mon Feb 26 2018

Calls: Historical Ling, Ling Theories, Semantics, Socioling, Syntax/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 25-Feb-2018
From: Miriam Bouzouita <>
Subject: Possessive Constructions in Romance
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Full Title: Possessive Constructions in Romance
Short Title: PossRom2018

Date: 27-Jun-2018 - 29-Jun-2018
Location: Ghent, Belgium
Contact Person: Miriam Bouzouita
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Sociolinguistics; Syntax

Language Family(ies): Romance

Call Deadline: 15-Mar-2018

Meeting Description:

PossRom2018 is dedicated to the investigation of synchronic and diachronic functioning and variation of possessives from a great variety of perspectives and in any Romance varieties.

Invited Speakers:

- Virginia Bertolotti
- Giuseppina Silvestri
- Carme Silva Domínguez

2nd Call for Papers:

As is known, there are syntactic differences within the Romance languages wrt the adjectival or article-like status of prenominal possessives: as such, Italian and Catalan need to use the combination of an article and a possessive, while for others, such as French, the possessive itself suffices. Certain Romance languages also display so-called Differential Possessor Marking (O’Connor 2003) as two constructions can express internal possession, using for instance pre- and postnominal possessives. However, most accounts that describe possessive structures limit themselves to the standard Romance languages, leaving aside the rich microvariation displayed by the vernaculars. To illustrate, the microvariation in the use of prenominals can be observed not only between the various Romance languages, but also within different historical and diatopic varieties of the same language, as in Old & Guatemalan Spanish; or Old & Brazilian Portuguese (e.g. Brito & Lopes 2016; Company Company 2009; Elsig 2017). This syntactic microvariation is not limited to the prenominal domain, as shown by the Italian dialects, where the northern ones favour the prenominal position, while the southern ones opt for the postnominal distribution (e.g. Silvestri 2016).

Moreover, Differential Possessor Marking appears to be more complex in diatopic vernaculars: Canarian Spanish, for instance, does not display two, but (at least) three different internal possession constructions, as PPs with personal pronouns, are also used. Despite this rich microvariation, to date hardly any studies have tried to provide accurate descriptions of the syntactic distribution of the possessive NP constructions for the diatopic varieties of Spanish, which also detail their semantic and pragmatic functions.

(1) detrás mío / mía - meu / mina - meu /*meva ‘Behind me’
(2) Gustas mío? - Gostas meu ‘Do you like me?’

Moreover, the use of possessives in domains other than the nominal one has received only very recently some attention, and only for Spanish. Possessives can be documented as complements of locative adverbials, as well as verbs, as in (1) and (2). While the range of adverbs which can appear with possessive complements has been studied for Spanish (eg. Marttinen Larsson & Bouzouita in press), this remains to be done for other Romance languages, such as Catalan and Galician. Interestingly, the adverbial possessives can also appear in the feminine form in some varieties (eg. in Andalusian Spanish), but only in the masculine in others, such as Catalan (Silva Domínguez 1995). It remains unclear whether these cases genuinely mark gender or whether other factors are at play.
The verbal possessives too can be found in different varieties, as in Uruguayan Spanish and certain Brazilian Portuguese vernaculars. Nonetheless, little is known about their syntactic behaviour, or the functional or sociolinguistic factors that propagate their use.

Therefore it has become increasingly urgent to scrutinise the functioning of possessives within the different sentential domains for Romance. We welcome contributions that deal with:

- The syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and prosodic functioning of pre- and postnominal possessives in Romance
- The intra- & extra-linguistic factors that govern the variation in the various possessive constructions synchronically and diachronically
- The genesis and diachronic development of the different syntactic possessive configurations, within any of the sentential domains (e.g. adverbial, verbal, etc.)
- The grammatical interaction between the different domains in which possessives are used

We encourage studies on any of the Romance languages, as well as Romance-based creoles and pidgins.
Abstract submission:

Page Updated: 26-Feb-2018