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Germanic possessive -s : an empirical, historical and theoretical study

Research Questions

Data from the development of the proto-Germanic genitive -s to its different forms in present-day varieties have been adduced in two current debates in linguistics:

(i) historically on issues relating to the concept of degrammaticalisation, and
(ii) in relation to morpho-syntactic theory on the reassessment of categories like clitic. In spite of the vast literature on these issues, no one has taken a family-wide overview.  This project will do that.

Aims and objectives

HISTORICAL: to provide a comparative study of the historical development of the possessive -s in three Germanic languages:  Dutch, English and Swedish;

EMPIRICAL: to describe in detail the structural and distributional properties of the possessive -s in the modern varieties of English and Swedish and to make the results available through a database;

THEORETICAL: to gain insight into the properties of morphological categories such as 'affix' and 'clitic', the relation between them and how they change over time.