Possessives and topicality
This paper deals with certain aspects of prenominal possessives (i.e. expressions of the kind John's wife, the city's destruction) in English. Consideration of the discourse function of the construction leads to the prediction that the possessor nominal will be high in topicality, whilst the possessee nominal will generally denote a highly non-topical entity. A number of text-based studies of the possessive confirm these predictions. It is then argued that the distribution of topicality within the construction offers a unified explanation of a range of grammaticality judgements.
Published online: 01 January 1994
Cited by 4 other publications
Zhao, Hongyan & Hongwei Zhan
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