The marker of the English “Group Genitive” is a special clitic, not an inflection

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The English possessive construction (and its relatives in related languages), which is the focus of the present volume, has been of interest for some time – at least since the work of traditional grammarians like Jespersen (1942). Several distinct analyses have become more or less standard in different theoretical communities, with the logic of the differences among them not always made clear in theory-neutral terms. I will argue below for one of these, essentially the picture presented in Anderson (2005), but the issues involved are of wider interest than the specific study of this one construction. I believe that the correct analysis of the English possessive indicates something much more general about a range of grammatical categories.


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