Between predicative and attributive possession in Bashkir*

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Bashkir employs the genitive strategy for predicative possessive construction (‘he has a car’ literally is ‘his car exists’). However, in predicative possessive constructions the genitival possessor shows syntactic properties that are mostly indicative of its clause-level status. Some other uses with genitival possessors (as in e.g. ‘his leg hurts’) show mixed behaviour with respect to various constituency-related tests. The distribution of these properties directly reflects the degree of the relevance of the possessor. This semantics-to-syntax link is reminiscent of the external vs. internal possessor contrasts in other languages, although normally these contrasts are also manifested morphologically. The fact that constituency tests do not converge on identical results calls into question the applicability of the traditional notion of constituency to Bashkir possessive constructions.


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