Possessive classification

Possessive classification refers to the existence of multiple strategies for the expression of possession, with the use of each determined by lexical factors, not phonological or other considerations.[1] Strategies may be morphological in nature, such as the use of affixes, or syntactic, such as the use of possessive pronouns or mere juxtaposition of possessors and possessed nouns. The number of possessive strategies is often restricted to two to four, but cases of as many as 32 have also been documented.[2] Classification is not determined on clear semantic grounds.[3]


PossClass: Possessive classification is a feature of the language: multiple strategies exist for the expression of possession, and their use is determined by lexical features.[4]

NoPossClass: Possessive classification is not a feature of the language: multiple strategies for the expression of possession either do not exist or are not determined by lexical features.[5]


[1] Possessive classification should not be confused with alienability. See the parameter Semantic distribution of personal possessive affixes.

[2] The phenomenon of possessive classification bears strong resembles to Indo­European case systems, with the key difference being the use of possessive constructions rather than cases.

[3] Certain semantic classes may tend to fall into one category rather than another, as long as exceptions to the trend can be found in each group.

[4] These strategies and their lexical restrictions should be detailed in the commentary.

[5] Non­lexical criteria may include phonetics, syntax, or possessive alienability. No explanatory commentary is necessary.