Germanic possessive -s

An empirical, historical and theoretical study


Morpho-syntactic categories and the expression of possession

3-4 April 2009, The University of Manchester

Organised by Kersti Börjars, David Denison and Alan Scott

The possessive in Germanic raises a number of issues in relation to morpho-syntactic categories such as affix, phrasal affix and clitic. Historically, the ‘s which now marks the possessive developed from a case marker which showed all the characteristics of an affix. With only a few exceptions, studies of the element in modern varieties of languages like English and Swedish assume that it is a straightforward clitic. However, one outcome of the work carried out as part of our project so far is that the modern ‘s shows some properties which are uncharacteristic of a clitic, for instance in that speakers appear to avoid so-called ‘group genitives’.

For this workshop, then, we are interested in papers that shed light on what the linguistic expression of possession can tell us about the nature of morpho-syntactic categories, in Germanic languages or other languages whose possessive markers illustrate properties which do not make them straightforwardly classifiable as affixes or clitics. We welcome historical, descriptive, typological and theoretical papers.

Workshop programme:

The programme is available from the link below:

The papers are listed below, with hyperlinks pointing now to actual presentations or handouts. A collection of revised and edited papers is to be published by John Benjamins.

Confirmed invited speakers:

Accepted abstracts:

If you have any questions regarding the workshop, please do not hesitate to contact one of us directly.