Article published in:Signs and Structures: Formal Approaches to Sign Language Syntax
Edited by Paweł Rutkowski
[Benjamins Current Topics 71] 2015
► pp. 7–37
Gettin’ together a POSSe
The primacy of predication in ASL possessives
This article addresses the derivational relationship between attributive (nominal) and predicative (verbal) possessives marked by the poss sign in American Sign Language. Though traditionally classified as a possessive pronoun, a collection of morphological, syntactic, and semantic patterns is presented here as evidence that poss instead displays the distributional characteristics of a verbal predicate in the language. Classifying POSS as a verbal predicate of possession explains its presence in predicative possessives and allows its attributive use to be derived from this underlying verbal structure as an instance of a prenominal reduced relative clause modifier. These base structures and their interaction with other components of the predicative and attributive domains explain the documented properties of attributive and predicative POSS possessives, including, crucially, the sometimes divergent behaviors of these two possessive constructions.
Published online: 17 September 2015
2012 There once was a verb: The predicative core of possessive and nominalization structures in American Sign Language. PhD dissertation, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
Baker-Shenk, Charlotte & Dennis Cokely
Benedicto, Elena & Diane Brentari
Bernath, Jeffrey L.
2009 Pinning down articles in American Sign Language. Manuscript, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
2010 On NPs and clauses. Manuscript, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Chen Pichler, Deborah & Julie Hochgesang
1990 The head parameter in ASL. In William Edmondson & Fred Karlsson (eds.), SLR ‘87: Papers from the Fourth International Symposium on Sign Language Research, 75–85. Hamburg: Signum.
Halle, Morris & Alec Marantz
Lillo-Martin, Diane & Richard Meier
1997 The structure of determiner phrases: Evidence from American Sign Language. PhD dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.
2000 Verb agreement as alignment in signed languages. PhD dissertation, MIT. [MIT Working Papers in Linguistics].
Neidle, Carol, Judy Kegl, Dawn MacLaughlin, Benjamin Bahan & Robert G. Lee
Partee, Barbara & Vladimir Borschev
2005 Event structure in American Sign Language. PhD Dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.
Supalla, Ted & Elissa Newport
Yang, Henrietta Shu-Fen
2005 Plurality and modiﬁcation in Mandarin nominal phrases. PhD Dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.