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“For my part ...”: the grammar and semantics of part possession in the languages of Tanna

Lynch, John D. (1992) “For my part ...”: the grammar and semantics of part possession in the languages of Tanna. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 12 (2). pp. 249-270. ISSN 0726-8602

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The possessive systems of the Oceanic languages of Melanesia have traditionally been analysed as including, among other categories, a direct suffixed construction which is used with kinship terms and parts of the body and of wholes. In this paper, I show that the possession of part terms in the languages of Tanna (Vanuatu) is rather more complex than this. Different part terms participate in different construction types, and a distinction must be made between those part terms which are seen as being relatively inalienable, and are thus normally not removed, and nouns which refer to less inalienable parts, which are regularly or easily removed or exuded, or which refer to things added to a manufactured object. A brief comparison suggests that something similar occurs in a number of other Melanesian languages, and that the traditional analysis may be inadequate.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Pacific Languages Unit
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 1992 10:57
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2012 10:57

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