Tracing the origins of the Swedish group genitive

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The term &#8220;group genitive&#8221; refers to all constructions in Swedish where the invariable genitive morpheme is attached to the right edge of complex NPs, instead of to the head noun. This paper focuses on one particular type of group genitive, in which the genitive marker is enclitically attached to a postmodifying prepositional phrase. Drawing data from a selection of Middle and Early Modern Swedish texts, it discusses the emergence, in Late Middle Swedish, of a set of competing genitive constructions involving possessors with postmodifying prepositional phrases, of the type <i>The king of Denmark&#8217;s son</i>. It will be examined whether these constructions, of which the group genitive was one, arose independently or out of each other, and how these developments relate to the shift of genitive -<i>s</i> from inflectional word marker to phrase marker.


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