Everyday possessions: Family and identity in the correspondence of John Paston II

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This study examines the linguistic and historical aspects of possession in the correspondence of John Paston II, a fifteenth-century Norfolk gentleman. The aim is to complement previous studies that analyze possessive constructions at a more general level by focusing on specific and everyday usage. A major problem with the analysis of possessive constructions is the wide range of semantic relations they encode. This problem is considered through the notion of identity to show how the possessive relation can be conceptually described in terms of material, social and body space. Linguistically, the possessive relation can be divided into an assertive, informative type in which ownership is central and an inherently relational type in which kinship and body relations are central.


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