Article published in:Case and Grammatical Relations: Studies in honor of Bernard Comrie
Edited by Greville G. Corbett and Michael Noonan
[Typological Studies in Language 81] 2008
► pp. 149–166
Leipzig fourmille de typologues: Genitive objects in comparison
In this paper we examine genitive objects in some of the major European languages (French, Italian, Latin, German, English) and propose a semantic invariant for them: We claim that in the great majority of cases, the genitive object can be said to express a background theme, i.e., a participant whose location (concrete or abstract) is at issue and which is not a (secondary) figure (e.g., Grev cleared the table of the dishes, where the genitive object of the dishes is a moving object, but the location is the secondary figure). Genitive objects also occur with verbs in the semantic domains of possession (e.g., French fournir ‘supply’), cognition (e.g., English warn of), and emotion (e.g., German sich erbarmen ‘have pity’). These other domains can be thought of as modeled on the local domain, with the roles of possessor, cognizer and emoter taking the place of the location.
Published online: 19 December 2008
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