Page content

Linguistics Research Seminar Series
Irish genitive possessors- The ‘pseudo-construct state’
Frances Kane, Ulster University

Previous analyses of noun phrases in Irish have focused on genitive possessor phrases such as below. This structure typically consists of a head noun governing a genitive noun.

(1) Hata an fhir
hat the man-GEN
'The man’s hat’

In this type of construction, the head noun cannot be introduced by the definite article:

(2) *An hata an fhir
the hat the man-GEN

This particular phrase has attracted attention due to the fact that it shares some distributional properties with the Construct State nominal of Semitic languages, due to disallowance of the definite article on the head noun in both Irish and Semitic. This observation has prompted an N-raising account for Irish and for other Celtic languages that exhibit the same pattern (Guilfoyle (1988); Sproat and Shih (1991); and Duffield (1995)). This type of analysis has been motivated by analyses of the Semitic CSN (Ritter (1988); Mohammad (1988); Fassi Fehri (1989); Siloni (1996) and Borer (1988, 1999a) among others). In this talk I will show that an N-raising analysis cannot be correct for Irish, first given crucial differences between the Semitic CSN and Irish genitive possessor, and second given the consideration of some genitive phrases where N cannot be in D. Given the clear evidence that shows that N does not move to D in Irish, I will present my analysis of the genitive phrase which proposes that the components of the genitive construction are generated within a relational phrase ק) following Adger (2012) for possessors in Scottish Gaelic). ק mediates the relation between the two components of the genitive phrase and variation in the appearance on the article on the head of the genitive phrase is dependent on both the type of relation generated within ק and on certain movement operations that are required to establish reference relations within the DP.

Event info

This event has ended

Friday 12 December

2pm to 3pm