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Consanguinity and Possession in Varieties of Dutch

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2017

Johan Rooryck*
Leiden University
Erik Schoorlemmer*
Leiden University
Leiden University Center for Linguistics (LUCL), P.O. BOX 9515, 2300 RA, The Netherlands [] []
Leiden University Center for Linguistics (LUCL), P.O. BOX 9515, 2300 RA, The Netherlands [] []


Southern varieties of Dutch use the 1st person plural form of the possessive pronoun ons as a marker of consanguinity with proper names, as in ons Emma ‘Emma, our consanguineous family member’. This use of ons ‘our’ has some remarkable properties: It is incompatible with adjectival modification and contrastive stress. These properties are shared with a construction from Standard Dutch: complex prenominal s- possessors consisting of the 1st person singular form of the possessive pronoun and a kinship term as in mijn vaders fiets ‘my father's bike’. We propose that both these constructions are constructional idioms (Booij 2002), a lexical template with a variable part. This offers a straightforward account of the properties of these constructions.*

Copyright © Society for Germanic Linguistics 2017 

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