KACL Lecture Series

#26 : Satoshi Tomioka
Professor, Univesity of Delaware
Title: The Event Semantic Root of the Inalienable Possession
Date : June 8, 2004, 17:00--18:30
Place : Room 1412, ground floor of Bldg 14, Kobe Shoin Women's University

In the inalienable possession construction in Korean, both the possessor and the possessee bear the accusative case morphology. In the past, it has been argued by many that the Acc-Acc pattern is derived from the Gen-Acc pattern. First, we point out that the two patterns in question are not semantically equivalent and argue that they are not derivationally related. Our proposal for the inalienable possession construction employs recursive VP structure in which the lower VP is headed by a lexical verb and the higher VP by a phonologically silent verb affect.

The possesee DP is the argument of the lower verb whereas affect selects the possessor DP. The recursive VP structure embodies the "material part-whole" relation between events (cf. Brisson 1998). For instance, the sentence, "Kim-nom Park-acc hand-acc grabbed" has the interpretation roughly paraphrased as "There was an event e such that e is affecting Park by Kim, and there was e" such that e "is a material part of e and e" is grabbing the hand. With such additional theoretical ingredients as Kratzer's (2002) notion of "eventualities that exemplify the proposition" and Krifka's (1989) Uniqueness/Mapping Principle between events and entities, we derive the inalienable possession meaning without direct semantic relation between the possessor and the possessee. There are other languages, most notably Bantu languages, that employ similar strategies for expressing inalienable possessions, and if time permits, we will discuss cross-linguistic similarities and differences. (This paper is co-authored with Chang-yong Sim of the University of Delaware.)


[back to KACL-home page]