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ERIC Number: ED554526
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3032-3153-7
Pre-Posed Possessive Constructions in Russian and Polish
Houle, Erik Richard
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Chicago
In Contemporary Standard Russian (CSR) and Contemporary Standard Polish (CSP) nominal possession is conveyed by means of the adnominal genitive. In this construction the dependent follows the noun it modifies and is marked morphologically for possession in the genitive case. The head noun is marked morphologically for any one of the six grammatical cases it assumes in the syntax. Examples of standard adnominal genitives, with head nouns in the nominative case, are seen in 1 and 2 below. Often, however, the dependent precedes the head as seen in examples 3 and 4 below. The pre-posed dependent remains marked in the genitive case indicating possession. Additionally, CSR has innovated another pre-posed genitive construction, separate from the adnominal genitive but achieving the same function. This is the "u"-possessive construction and is seen below in example 5. According to Polish and Russian grammars, the "rare" pre-posed adnominal genitive exceptions, if even permissible, are marked for emphasis or described as (seemingly unmotivated) tendencies in substandard colloquial forms of these languages. Given the abundance of pre-posed possessive constructions, it would seem that the prescriptive explanation is insufficient, or, at least, should be modified. Pre-posed possessive constructions are in fact quite common in the idiolects of some speakers of Russian and Polish with usage corresponding not only to emphasis but also to such factors as education, exposure to other languages, and level of register. The fact that the two languages make use of Pre-posed Possessive Constructions, however limited, does not immediately correlate to parallel usage. The Russian pre-posed possessive construction exists in two different forms: the pre-posed adnominal genitive and the "u"-possessive construction. In both forms the pre-posed possessor can be a noun (Ivan's wife or brother's wife, with an implied 3rd party possessor) or an explicit 3rd party possessor conveyed by means of a possessive adjective + noun (my brother's wife). The difference between usage and non-usage of the preposition is based primarily on education. That is, the pre-posed adnominal genitive is more characteristic of prosmoriechtsie; (colloquial language) while the "u"-possessive construction, though not prescriptive, is used or at least equally acceptable to some speakers with higher education. If not used to respond directly to contextual demands, it too is characteristic of a more colloquial register. The Polish pre-posed possessive construction exists in only one form: the pre-posed adnominal genitive, parallel in structure to the Russian form. As in Russian, the Polish pre-posed possessor is a single noun or a 3rd party possessor adjective + noun. Usage is characteristic of a lower linguistic register. However, data illustrate that the construction is used by or acceptable to Poles on both ends of the education spectrum. *Please refer to dissertation for tables. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A