Possessor Raising and Possessive Clitics in the

Anton Zimmerling (MGGU/RGGU)
[email protected]
 The paper discusses syntactic features of Slavic possessive clitics and
Slavic constructions with the so called ‘Possessor Raising’.
 I am proving that only a minority of Slavic languages have true phraselevel (NP-level or DP-level) possessive clitics and arguing against a
generalized syntactic account of all Slavic constructions with Possessor
 In descriptive terms the term ‘Possessor Raising’ refers to a quasisynonymic semantic transformation when a phrase-level possessive
operator located in an NP/DP and expressed by a clitic/free
pronoun/NP is arranged as an argument of the clausal predicate. I am
arguing that a different location of a possessive operator may both
change syntactic structure or preserve it depending on the value
morphosyntactic parameters assume in a given language.
Possessor Raising and
Possessive Shift
 Possessor Raising is a operation preserving syntactic
structure: it shown different stages of syntactic
derivation of one and the same sentence.
 Possessive Shift = alternation of different syntactic
Type A languages:
 Phrase-level possessive operators and clause-level
possessive operators are marked with different
morphological cases.
 E.g. Russian phrase-level possessives are genitives
while Russian clause-level possessives are datives, cf. 1)
Rus. Ona ne [NP doch’ Petrova-Gen/ego-Gen doch’]
‘She is not Petrov’s daughter/his daughter’ ~ 2) Ona
emu-Dat ne docj/ Petrovu-Dat ne doch’’
 For this group of languages the analysis in terms of PR
does not make much sense.
Type B languages
 Possessor Shift is bound to the use of pronominal clitics
which are marked by the same overt case (dative) both on
the phrase-level and on the clause-level. For this group of
languages, a Raising analysis of clausal possessive forms
remains possible.
 In Modern Serbo-Croatian, dative possessives in clausal 2P
are marginally acceptable, cf. Pennington (2010), but
phrase-level dative possessives in SC are ungrammatical.
Type C languages
 Modern Bulgarian and Macedonian both have DPlevel dative clitics – cf. Mišeska Tomić (2004),
Franks, Junghanns & Law (2005) and mechanisms
allowing for extracting dative clitics out of DP and
placing them in clausal-second position (2P) – a
position typically hosting Slavic argument and
reflexive pronominal clitics, cf. DimitrovaVulchanova (1999), Franks & King (2008),
Zimmerling (2008), Kosta & Zimmerling (2011)
Problems and solutions
 The two oldest Slavic idioms – Old Church Slavonic
(OCS) and Old Northern Russian (ONR) – exemplify
two extremes: ONR completely lacked dative
possessives, while in OCS they were common both in
clausal 2P and on the phrase-level.
 Following Kosta & Zimmerling (2011) I am claiming
that the majority of Slavic languages only have clauselevel possessives and pattern them with argument
dative clitics.
The Possessive Relation
1. Possessor vs Possessee. Alienable vs inalienable possession.
[Журинская 1978], [Журинская 1979]
 Ножка стола ~ ножка от стола. Рот Маши, *рот от
 Девушка с длинными ногами, *девушка с ногами.
 У Маши голубые глаза. * У Маши глаза. *У Маши есть
глаза. (Cf. in the fig. meaning У Маши есть глаза, она все
замечает). [Мельчук 1995]
 У меня есть дочь ~ У меня дочь. [Янко 2001]
Quasipossesivity: the form
Two metalinguistic uses.
2a. A possessive construction is used for expressing different
meanings. [Селиверстова 1990], [Циммерлинг 2000].
 Cf. У меня есть карта и У меня есть подозрение, что P.
 O.Icel. mér er ván cf. Rus. “у меня (букв. мне) есть
надежда”; *mér er húsit intended: “I have a house”.
 O.Icel. ég hefi ván lit. «I have (a) hope»; ég hefi húsit lit. «I
have a house».
Quasipossessivity: the semantics
 2b. Possessive and non-possessive relations between some
predicate arguments are expressed simultaneously.
2b1. On the semantic level, cf. [Грамматика 1980].
Rus. У нее деньги в банке. (Locative Relation +
Possessive Relation).
Rus. У Ивана в сарае радиостанция смонтирована
(Locative Relation + Possessive Relation + Agentive
Relation, cf.е – ср. Rus. Иван смонтировал
радиостанцию в сарае).
У меня в квартире пол не метен (Locative Relation
+ Agentive Relation).
Possessive Relation: Raising
[Szabolcsi 1983], [Den Dikken 1998].
 Она пришила ребенку пуговицу > > [ ребенок (посессор)
vs пуговица (объект обладания)].
PR = raising of a possessor element to some higher syntactic
 ?Он грубым приемом сломал [ногу Аршавина/его ногу].
> Он грубым приемом сломал Аршавину/ему ногу.
 ?Пробка бутылки ~ пробка от бутылки.
Applicative morphemes
Hungarian: an applicative auxiliary element is added
[Szabolcsi 1983, Szabolcsi 1994]
 Mari-nak a
kalap-ja-i “Mary’s hats”, Cf. Rus.
“Машины шляпы», «шляпы Маши»
М. – Dat. the hat-Poss.3
 Mari-nak van-nak kalap-ja-i “Mary has some hats”,
Cf. Rus. «У Маши есть шляпы».
М. – Dat. Be-3Pl. hat-Poss.3
Case Marking on the Possessor
Corean: [Doo-Won Lee 2004: 239]
а. [DPKim kyoswu kacok] -i
«Professor Kim’s family»
K. professor family –Nom
b. [DP Kim kyoswu ton]- i
«Professor Kim’s money»
K. money - Nom
c. Kim kyoswu-ka/eykye kacok-i
iss-ta «Professor Kim
has a family»
K. professor-Nom/Dat family-Nom exist-Dec
d. *[DPKim kyoswu kacok] –i iss-ta
f. Kim kyoswu-ka/eykye ton-I iss-ta. «Professor Kim has
g. *[DPKim kyoswu toni] –i iss-ta
Slavic Languages
 Pronominal clitics [Franks & King 2000], [Зализняк 2008].
Pronominal Dative clitics have non-trivial properties – they can
be used both on the NP/DP-level and on the clause-clevel and
express the Possessive Relation.
 NP/DP-level Posssesive Clitics are attested in Bulgarian and
Macedonian [Franks, Junghanns, Law 2005]. Raising of phraselevel Possessive clitics and lowering of clause-level Possessive
clitics are blocked or hampered [Pennington 2010] затруднен
[Kosta, Zimmerling 2011].
 Two possible analyses of Bulgarian Possessive clitics – Possessive
Raising is possible [Schürсks, Wunderlich 2004]. – Possessive
Raising is only possible in some constructions expressing
alienable possession [Cinque & Krapova 2011].
Russian: No Possessor Raising
 NP-level Russian non-agreeing possessive determiners are marked with
Genitive, clause-level Russian non-agreeing possessive determiner are
marked with Dative.
 In this situation, Possessive Raising cannot be analyzed as on operation
preserving syntactic structure.
 Rus. Oна не [NP дочь Петрова-Gen/его-Gen дочь] ~ Она не дочь
Петрову-Dat./ему-Dat не дочь. “She is not Petrova’s daughter”
 Russian lacks NP/DP-level possessive determiners in the Dative Case.
 а.
 b.
не враг.
встретил врага себе.
enemy REFL.DAT
Old Russian
 Old Russian had both clause-level possessive clitics (merged in
2P according to Wackernagel’s law, normally - after the first
phonetic word), and NP-level possessive clitics attached to
nominal heads.
 а. O.Rus. что воздамъ=тиPP противоу [NP благодѣянию=ти]?
(Ипат. [1199], л. 244).
What render.PRS.1SG you.DAT.2SG. for benefaction youDAT.2SG.
b. брата=ти Романа Богъ поялъ (Ипат. [1180], л. 217).
Brother.ACC.SG. you.DAT.2SG. Roman.ACC.SG. God took.PRF.3SG.M.
“God took your brother Roman from you”, cf. Rus. ‘Бог взял у
тебя (твоего) брата Романа’ OR ‘Бог взят твоего брата
Романа (у тебя)’.
 Alienable possession
Тя намери=ли [DP ужасни-те=си грешки]?
She found.PST3.SG. Q
horrible-the REFL.DAT.
«Did she find her terrible mistakes?»
 b. Тя намери=ли=си [DP ужасни-те ___ грешкиi]?
She found.PST3.SG. Q
REFL.DAT. horrible-the mistakes
 Inalienable possession
 (c) Той =ми =се
[PP в [DP ухото ]]
he me.DAT.SG. REFL.ACC shouted.PST.3SG. in ear.the
‘He shouted in my ear’.
 (d) Той=се
[PP в [DP ухото=ми ]]
‘the same’
 In (c) the clitic =ми is an argument of the main clausal
predicate. It has the meaning of the
Benefactor/Malefactor, in (d) the clitic =ми is a DPlevel element, the DP being part of a PP.
 No extraction out of PPs seems to be possible.
е. *Аз=и
мисля [PP -за [DP oчите __]]
I her.DAT.3SG.F. think.PRS.1SG.
for eyes.the
intended: ‘I am thinking of her eyes’.
 Consequently, in examples like (c), we do not have any
extraction either: the possessive clitic is basegenerated in the main clause.
c.Той =ми =се
[PP в [DP ухото ]]
Is there Possessor Raising in Russian?
 No, unless one postulates a special syntactic conception it order
to find it.
Is there Possessor Raising in UG?
 Yes, in some Cases Possessor Raising is possible as a purely
syntactic operation, in other cases it pertains to semantics and
one must postulate a synonymy of different possessive (or quasipossessive constructions). For this case we reserve the notion
Possessor Shift.
 Universal semantic relations correspond to similar but not
identical syntactic patterns..
 The paper is prepared with financial support of the
Russian Foundation for the Humanities (RGNF),
project 11-04-00282a “Typology of morphosyntactic
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