Linguistics Colloquium: Possessive Constructions: Syntactic Puzzles in English and Beyond

5:30 pm on Thursday, October 18, 2018
6:45 pm on Thursday, October 18, 2018
SAR 101 (635 Commonwealth Avenue)
Contact Name:
Carol Neidle
MIT PhD candidate Snejana Iovtcheva presenting: What do linguists mean by possessive constructions and how do we approach and study these constructions? Are the English expressions ’the mother of John’ and ‘John’s mother’ sharing some underlying uniform syntactic structure or are these two alternative constructions generated by two unrelated syntactic mechanisms? Why can we say ‘John’s horse’, but ‘the horse of John’ sounds suddenly odd? What do linguist mean by extrinsic/alienable and inherent/inalianable possession? What is external and what is internal possessive construction? This talk presents an engaging introduction to the terminology and the syntactic study of possession and introduces several theoretical puzzles that are the topic of lively ongoing debates among generative grammarians. Co-Sponsored by the BU Center for the Humanities