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Possessed NP containing a superlative
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A superlative preceded by a possessor may have an unusual, subjective, interpretation.

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A superlative may show up after a possessor, as in the following example:

Example 1

Syn moaiste auto is in reade Bugatti
his nice.SUP car is a red Bugatti
His most beautiful car is a red Bugatti

The Noun Phrase (NP) containing the superlative has two readings. It may of course mean: the car which is most beautiful, which he owns. But it can also have a subjective interpretation which does not involve material ownership: the car which is most beautiful in his opinion. The pragmatic context determines which reading is preferred. Below some more examples of this construction are presented:

Example 2

a. Dat is net myn moaiste waar
that is not my nice.SUP weather
This is not my favourite weather
b. As er thúskomst is syn earste de tillevyzje oansette
when he home.comes is his fist the television on.put
When he comes home, the first thing he does is put on the television
c. Him oankleie by de direksje soe myn lêste wêze
him indict with the management would my last be
My last thing would be to report him to the management

The possessed nominalised superlative has an adverbial function in the following examples:

Example 3

a. Elk praat syn skoanst
each talks his nicest
Everybody talks as is best for him
b. De Hearrenfeansupporters songen har bêst
the Hearrenfean.supporters sung their best
The supporters of It Hearrenfean sang as best as they could

In spite of its adverbial function, this superlative cannot be combined with a direct object:

Example 4

a. De Hearrenfeansupporters songen it Frysk folksliet
the Hearrenfean.supporters sung the Frisian anthem
The supporters of It Hearrenfean sang the Frisian anthem
b. *De Hearrenfeansupporters songen har best it Frysk folksliet
the Hearrenfean.supporters sung their best the Frisian anthem
The supporters of It Hearrenfean sang the Frisian anthem as best as they could

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x Literature

More details can be found in Hoekstra (1987) and Hoekstra (1989).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1987Dat is net myn moaiste waarFriesch Dagblad11-07Taalsnipels 40
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1989Elk praat syn skoanstFriesch Dagblad04-11Taalsnipels 126
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