Feature GB432: Can adnominal possession be marked by a suffix on the possessor?

Patrons: Hannah J. Haynie



This feature targets a specific type of adnominal possessive construction, namely one where a possessor (either nominal or pronominal) is marked with a suffix or enclitic to indicate possession of an object. This frequently takes the form of a genitive suffix on a possessor, but may also involve other types of suffixes or enclitics. Crucially, the possession must be marked by an element that follows and is phonologically bound to the possessor noun/pronoun.


  1. Code 1 if there is an adnominal possessive construction marked by an element which is phonologically bound to the possessor noun phrase or pronoun, and which follows that noun/pronoun.
  2. Code 0 if there is no adnominal possession construction in which a suffix or enclitic on the possessor noun/pronoun functions to mark possession.
  3. Code 0 if the only relevant adnominal possession construction is marked by tone alone, not by a suffix or enclitic.


Southeastern Pomo (ISO 639-3: pom, Glottolog: sout2982)

Possession is marked by a suffix -it on the possessor, and in the case of alienable possession an additional suffix -baq, which indicates that the relationship between possessor and possessum is alienable. Southeastern Pomo would be coded 1.

a. hayut     xin
hayu-it   xin
dog-POSS  name
‘the dog’s name’ (Moshinsky 1974: 95)

b. bṭedit      xal
bṭed-it     xal
woman-POSS  arm
‘the woman’s arm’ (Moshinsky 1974: 95)

c. hayutbaq        ca
hayu-it-baq     ca
dog-POSS-ALIEN  house
‘the dog’s house’ (Moshinsky 1974: 95)

d. Ɂuyitbaq        ca
Ɂuyi-it-baq     ca
‘his house’ (Moshinsky 1974: 95)

Wappo (ISO 639-3: wao, Glottolog: wapp1239)

Wappo expresses alienable possession by marking the possessor noun or pronoun with a genitive suffix.

a. me-meɁ   chipe  tu:nikuɁ
2SG-GEN  red    dress
‘your red dress’ (Thompson et al. 2014: 9)

b. k'ew-meɁ  k'ešu
man-GEN   meat
‘the man’s meat’ (Thompson et al. 2014: 14)

Wappo would be coded 1 because this genitive suffix marks possessive relationships and is phonologically bound to the right of the possessor noun.

Further reading

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. & R. M. W. Dixon (eds). 2013. Possession and ownership: A cross-linguistic typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Baron, Irène, Michael Herslund & Finn Sørensen (eds). 2001. Dimensions of possession. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Moshinsky, Julius. 1974. A grammar of Southeastern Pomo. (University of California Publications in Linguistics, 72.) Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Thompson, Sandra A., Joseph Sung-Yul Park & Charles N. Li. 2014. A reference grammar of Wappo. (University of California Publications in Linguistics 138). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

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0 absent 1335
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Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment