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Genitive Constructions

There are two kinds of genitive constructions: genitive pronouns, and genitive NP's (which have an explicit genitive marker, 's, associated with them). It is clear from examples such as her dog returned home and her five dogs returned home vs dog returned home that genitive pronouns function as determiners and as such, they sequence with the rest of the determiners. The features for the genitives are the same as for other determiners. Genitives are not required to agree with either the determiners or the nouns in the NPs that they modify. The value of the agr feature for an NP with a genitive determiner depends on the NP to which the genitive determiner adjoins. While it might seem to make sense to take their as 3pl, my as 1sg, and Alfonso's as 3sg, this number and person information only effects the genitive NP itself and bears no relationship to the number and person of the NPs with these items as determiners. Consequently, we have represented agr as unspecified for genitives in Table 19.1. Genitive NP's are particularly interesting because they are potentially recursive structures. Complex NP's can easily be embedded within a determiner.
(323)0(323
(324)
[[[John]'s friend from high school]'s uncle]'s mother came to town.

There are two things to note in the above example. One is that in embedded NPs, the genitive morpheme comes at the end of the NP phrase, even if the head of the NP is at the beginning of the phrase. The other is that the determiner of an embedded NP can also be a genitive NP, hence the possibility of recursive structures. In the XTAG grammar, the genitive marker, 's, is separated from the lexical item that it is attached to and given its own category (G). In this way, we can allow the full complexity of NP's to come from the existing NP system, including any recursive structures. As with the simple determiners, there is one auxiliary tree structure for genitives which adjoins to NPs. As can be seen in 19.4, this tree is anchored by the genitive marker 's and has a branching D node which accomodates the additional internal structure of genitive determiners. Also, like simple determiners, there is one initial tree structure (Figure 19.5) available for substitution where needed, as in, for example, the Determiner Gerund NP tree (see Chapter 18 for discussion on determiners for gerund NP's).

{Genitive Determiner Tree

{Genitive NP tree for substitution: $\alpha$DnxG

Since the NP node which is sister to the G node could also have a genitive determiner in it, the type of genitive recursion shown in ((324)) is quite naturally accounted for by the genitive tree structure used in our analysis.

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XTAG Project
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