Double-possessive nominalizations in English

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Double-possessive nominalizations such as <i>Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait</i> have played a prominent role in the history of linguistics. However, this construction is not only cross-linguistically rare but also the least used form of nominalization in English texts. The question is therefore addressed of the circumstances under which double-possessive nominalization is used. What emerges from corpus analysis is that the construction is employed above all to designate mental processes and that its occurrence differs from that of its clausal analogue in occurring in certain syntactic positions in which clauses are excluded. The article also contains discussion of such matters as the semantic categories of entity proposed by Functional Grammar, the interaction of nominalization and psych verbs and the effect of syntactic ‘priming’.


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