A Syntactico-semantic Analysis of Possessive Constructions in Kisubi

Ibrahim D. Rwakakindo, Abel Y. Mreta, Abel Y. Mreta


This paper intends to explore the way in which possessive constructions in Kisubi can be categorised and examine the extent to which semantic line between the established possessive categories is clearly demarcated. The study is guided by the prototype theory and it is confined to the nominal possessive constructions. It adopted a qualitative approach. Data were collected from six (6) participants who were snowballingly selected from three wards in Biharamulo District. The data were collected using structured interview, introspection and focus group discussion (FGD). Content analysis technique and interlinear glossing approach were used for data analysis. The Prototype Theory was mainly used in categorising possessive constructions. The findings indicate that possessive constructions fall into two broad categories, namely typical and less typical. Typical possessive constructions (TPCs), also known as alienable possessive constructions, display actual/canonical possession. Less typical possessive constructions (LTPCs) on the other hand can be divided into two categories: firstly, inalienable possessive constructions, which essentially display socio-cultural possession; and secondly, neitheralienable-nor-inalienable possessive constructions. The latter category has three aspects: generic possessive constructions, part-whole-like possessive constructions and other-relations possessive constructions. The findings of the study demonstrate that there is a thin line between alienable and inalienable possessive constructions: the semantic features of both categories tend to overlap in some occurrences.


Key words: alienable, inalienable, prototype theory, possessive constructions, possessor, possessee, typical and less typical, concept

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