Proceedings of IATL 23

The paper decomposes the notion of 'possession' into a variety of syntactic configurations associated with distinct meanings. Our analysis is grounded in Palestinian Arabic, a 'have-less' language which overtly distinguishes by choice of preposition two of the basic configurations underlying possession: Part-Whole and Temporary Location. The study of locality constraints on PP-fronting on the Part-Whole and Temporary Location construals leads us to identify a third source which we call Bare Inversion. Bare inversion structures feature a special restriction related to humans, and a new key to understanding the blurring of location and possession when it comes to humans, and we argue for an underlying applicative structure in the absence of a lexical verb. We extend our three-way division to English HAVE. If we are correct, 2 conclusions follow: (a) the difference between HAVE and BE may further reduce to the parametric realization of prepositions in ApplP, and (b) all of the structures subserving possession are independently attested, and there is no particular structure or theta-role dedicated to 'possession' per se.

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