Feature GB433: Can adnominal possession be marked by a suffix on the possessed noun?

Patrons: Hannah J. Haynie



This feature targets a specific type of adnominal possessive construction, namely one where possession is marked by a suffix or enclitic on the possessed noun. In some cases, the possessive suffix indexes agreement categories of the possessor. Crucially, the possession must be marked by a phonologically bound element that follows and is phonologically bound to the possessed noun.


  1. Code 1 if there is an adnominal possessive construction marked by an element which is phonologically bound to the possessed noun, and which occurs to the right of that noun.
  2. Code 0 if there is no adnominal possession construction in which a suffix or enclitic on the possessed noun marks possession.
  3. Code 0 if the only relevant adnominal possession construction is marked only by tone, not by a suffix or enclitic.


Nganasan (ISO 639-3: nio, Glottolog: ngan1291)

"The relationship between the modifier (the possessor) and the head (the possessed noun) is encoded by possessive suffixes on the head and/or a Genitive case suffix appearing on the possessor." (Wagner-Nagy 2014: 76)

a. (mənə) d’esɨ-mə
(1SG)  father-1SG.POSS
‘my father’ (Wagner-Nagy 2014: 77)

b. (tənə) d’esɨ-tə             ban-tu
(2SG)  father-GEN.2SG.POSS  dog-3SG.POSS
‘your father’s dog’ (Wagner-Nagy 2014: 77)

c. d’ed’i       ban-tu
father.GEN   dog-3SG.POSS
‘father’s dog’ (Wagner-Nagy 2014: 77)

Nganasan would be coded 1 for this feature, because a common strategy for marking possession involves possessive suffixes on the possessed noun. It does not matter for this feature that when the possessor is specified with a noun or pronoun it must be in genitive case (but the availability of a strategy for marking possession on the possessor with a genitive suffix in this language would also trigger a 1 for GB432).

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.


Wagner-Nagy, Beáta. 2014. Possessive constructions in Nganasan. Томский журнал лингвистических и антропологических исследований. Tomsk Journal of Linguistics and Anthropology 1. 76–82.

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0 absent 1195
1 present 677
? Not known 91



Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment