Possessive Noun Phrase: From Simple to Complex

Ibrahim D. Rwakakindo, Abel Y. Mreta


This study seeks to examine the possible expandability of possessive noun phrase (PNP) in Kisubi, a Bantu language spoken natively in Biharamulo district located in the north-western part of Kagera region, Tanzania. Precisely, the core objective of this paper is to investigate the presence of potential syntactic slots between the head noun (N1 – herein referred to as the possessee) and the dependent noun (N2 – herein referred to as the possessor), and the way they are patterned in relation to the head noun. Similarly, the paper investigates the saturational level of the PNP. Furthermore, the study confines itself to the nominal possessive noun phrases because of their potentiality of having syntactic slots between N1 and N2; and it is guided by the Phrase Structure Grammar (PSG). The data are generated by six (6) native speakers of Kisubi, who are obtained through snowball sampling technique. They are collected using structured interview, introspection and Focus Group Discussion; and are analysed using tables and tree structure inherent in PSG. The findings established that there is a maximum of five (5) syntactic slots between N1 and N2, and they are occupied by elements such as demonstrative, adjective, quantifier, numeral and ordinal. Of the elements (herein referred to as syntactic intrusives), the demonstrative is designated as a determiner because of its syntactic behaviour of occurring consistently closer to the head noun; and the remaining elements are designated as modifiers because of their syntactic behaviour of hopping from one syntactic position to another.


Key words: possessive noun phrase, syntactic intrusive, determiner, modifier, peripheral modifiers, alienable, inalienable, phrase structure grammar, possessor, possessee, etc.

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