Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Constraints in contact: Animacy in English and Afrikaans genitive variation – a cross-lingui...

Download

A- A+
dyslexia friendly

Research

Constraints in contact: Animacy in English and Afrikaans genitive variation – a cross-linguistic perspective

Author:

Anette Rosenbach

Tanagra Farm, 6708 McGregor/Western Cape, ZA
About Anette
Anette Rosenbach received her PhD 2001 at the University of Duesseldorf. Previously a Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Paderborn (until 2009) she now works as a freelance linguist based in the Western Cape/South Africa.
X close

Abstract

This paper builds on the observation that the animacy effects we find in English genitive variation are part of a larger cross-linguistic pattern as reflected in possession splits based on animacy (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2001, 2002; Stolz et al. 2008), which are an expression of harmonic alignment in the domain of possession (Aissen & Bresnan 2002; Rosenbach 2008). Focussing on English and Afrikaans, a contrastive corpus analysis of genitive variation reveals similar forms of animacy splits in these two languages, though they differ in the strength of the animacy constraint, with the Afrikaans prenominal possessive (the se-genitive) occurring more freely with inanimate possessors than the English s-genitive. In a follow-up experimental study it is then shown that the weaker animacy constraint in Afrikaans carries over to the L2 English of Afrikaans speakers in South Africa. This study emphasizes the importance of a cross-linguistic perspective when looking at genitive variation in English and its varieties (1) to recognize that Englishes form part of a typological continuum of possession splits, and (2) to enable us to identify the possible transfer of constraint strengths from one language to another one in a situation where these languages are in contact, as in the case of English and Afrikaans in South Africa.


This article is part of the Special Collection: Probabilistic grammars: Syntactic variation in a comparative perspective

How to Cite: Rosenbach, A., (2017). Constraints in contact: Animacy in English and Afrikaans genitive variation – a cross-linguistic perspective. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics. 2(1), p.72. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.292
70
Views
48
Downloads
Published on 04 Aug 2017.
Peer Reviewed

Downloads

  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus