Possessives in English: An Exploration in Cognitive Grammar

Paperback | September 1, 2000

byJohn R. Taylor

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The possessive morpheme in English occurs in a variety of constructions - prenominal possessives (the man's hat, the plane's arrival), postnominal possessives (a friend of mine), -ing nominalizations (without my saying so), and possessive compounds (a girls' school). What does this morphemeactually mean, what is its syntactic category, what is its semantic contribution to the expressions in which it occurs, and how can various restrictions on its use be accounted for? Dr Taylor proposes a unitary account of the possessive morpheme. He takes as his theoretical framework Cognitive Grammar, as developed over the past 15 years by Ronald Langacker and others. In the earlier chapters of the book he introduces and motivates the conceptual apparatus of the theory, and inlater chapters he develops a coherent account of the full range of possessive constructions in English. A special feature of the book is that it offers a wide-ranging critique of both traditional and more recent accounts of possessive expressions. Focusing particularly on Government and Binding theory, the author highlights the profound conceptual differences underlying the two theoretical approachesrepresented by GB and Cognitive Grammar, while also observing some points of convergence between them.

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The possessive morpheme in English occurs in a variety of constructions - prenominal possessives (the man's hat, the plane's arrival), postnominal possessives (a friend of mine), -ing nominalizations (without my saying so), and possessive compounds (a girls' school). What does this morphemeactually mean, what is its syntactic category,...

John R. Taylor is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Otago. He is the author of Linguistic Categorization: Prototypes in Linguistic Theory (OUP 1989; second edition 1995), and editor (with R. MacLaury) of Language and the Cognitive Construal of the World (Mouton de Gruyter 1995).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:380 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:September 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198299826

ISBN - 13:9780198299820

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Table of Contents

1. Preliminaries2. Theoretical Orientation3. Some Basic Notions of Cognitive Grammar4. Syntax in Cognitive Grammar5. The Constituent Structure of Prenominal Possessives6. Prenominal Possessives: Some Generative Approaches7. Specificity and Definiteness of Prenominal Possessives8. Possessors as Topics9. The Cue Validity of the Possessor10. Ing-nominalizations11. Possessive Compounds12. Other Possessive Constructions13. Possession

Editorial Reviews

`Few topics in English linguistics match the possessive in richness of construction types, token frequency, and the lenge for both a syntactician and a semanticist. Yet, apart from a number of recent dissertations and a monograph or two, this may be the first full-bore, book-lengthtreatment of the English possessive, which makes Taylor's book a welcome addition to the growing body of literature approaching the syntax-semantics interface . . . it is an excellent starting point, and one which can lead us further into a much-desired convergence of theoretical frameworks.'Chris Barker and Maria Polinsky, University of California, San Diego, Language 74(4)