Floating genitives and possessive framing in Northern Akhvakh

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This paper analyzes a construction involving genitives in Northern Akhvakh, the <i>floating genitive construction</i>. In this construction, a genitive NP is related to a noun in S or P role but is not included in the NP headed by this noun. The floating genitive identifies the personal sphere of its referent as the frame within which the predication expressed by the clause holds. Functionally, this construction combines the pragmatic motivations of framing constructions with the semantic effects common to other types of external possession constructions. Parallels are proposed between the floating genitives of Northern Akhvakh and functionally comparable constructions found in other languages. This construction illustrates the development of an uncommon type of external possessors in a language family in which external possession has so far been considered relatively marginal.


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