Nominal and pronominal possessors 
in Romanian

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We describe the syntax and morphology of the genitival construction of Romanian, and we insist on the syntactic analysis of some peculiar properties of these constructions: the alternation between genitives introduced by the agreeing particle <i>al</i> and those without <i>al</i>, the status of this agreeing particle, the similarity in distribution between genitives and agreeing possessors, and the alternation between agreeing and genitival forms in the paradigm of pronominal possessors. We argue that the absence of <i>al</i> after the suffixal definite article is the result of a PF-deletion rule. We conclude that <i>al</i> is probably ambiguous between an agreeing case-marker and a [pro-N+D] complex, and we show that this peculiar distribution results from the history of <i>al</i> (which goes back to a definite article). We argue that agreeing possessors &#8211; so-called &#8220;possessive adjectives&#8221; &#8211; are pronouns rather than adjectives, which is particularly clear in Romanian given their genitival distribution. The alternation between agreeing and genitive-marked pronominal possessors is shown to obey a morphological constraint, which disallows pronominal roots in combination with more than one set of inflectional phi-features. This explains why agreeing forms are only found where the inherent phi-features of the pronoun are marked on the root, whereas 3rd person pronouns, which mark the inherent phi-features on the inflectional morpheme, have genitive forms.


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