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The pronominal possessive construction
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The possessor Noun Phrase (NP) must be followed by a coreferential pronoun in the pronominal possessive construction. Furthermore, the possessor must be a person. The construction can be relativised with the aid of the relative pronoun dythat one, which is homophonous with the topic pronoun.

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The possessor NP must be followed by a coreferential pronoun in the pronominal possessive construction. An example is given below:

Example 1

It is de boer syn lân
it is the farmer his land
It is the farmer's land

This construction is restricted to the third person. Furthermore, pronouns are banned from the NP position:

Example 2

a. *Ik myn lân
I my land
My land
b. *Hy syn lân
he his land
His land

This construction is relativized by means of the relative pronoun dythat one, which is homophonous with the topic pronoun and the demonstrative pronoun. The possessor NP is relativized by putting the entire NP containing the possessor at the beginning of the sentence, as shown below:

Example 3

a. It is de boer syn lân
it is the farmer his land
It is the farmer's land
b. De boer dy syn lân oft it is
the farmer REL his land COMP it is
The farmer whose land it is

The complementiser may be spelled out as oftthat or asthat. The construction is quite infrequent in the Frisian Language Corpus. Mostly, a construction is chosen in which the antecedent occurs in the preceding sentence and the pronoun dythat one refers back to it by means of discourse coreference:

Example 4

… de boer, Haaksma. Dy syn lân is it
the farmer Haaksma TOP his land is it
… the farmer, Haaksma. It is his land

The complementiser in a relative clause may also take the form asif, or, more marginally, datthat. The use of the complementiser is optional with non-subject relatives, as is clear from comparing the sentence below to (3b) above:

Example 5

De boer dy syn lân it is
the farmer REL his land it is
The farmer whose land it is

The complementiser must be absent with subject relatives:

Example 6

a. De boer dy syn lân te keap is
the farmer REL his land for sale is
The farmer whose land is for sale
b. *De boer dy syn lân as te keap is
the farmer REL his land COMP for sale is
The farmer whose land is for sale

The complementiser cannot cliticise onto the NP containing the possessor:

Example 7

*De boer dy syn lân 't it is
the farmer REL his land. COMP it is
The farmer whose land it is

The complementiser cannot cliticise onto the relative pronoun:

Example 8

*De boer dy 't syn lân it is
the farmer REL.COMP his land it is
The farmer whose land it is

The possessive pronoun coreferential with the relative pronoun can be nominalised in a relative construction:

Example 9

Grins stie ûnder dy fan de domproast fan Utert, dy sines de grutste wie
Groningen stood below TOP of the deanery of Utrecht REL his.NE the biggest was
The deanery of Groningen was below the one of the dean of Utrecht, whose deanery was the biggest

The possessive pronoun may also be feminine in case it refers to a woman:

Example 10

De frou dy har boek as ik lêzen ha
the woman REL her book COMP I read have
The woman whose book I read

The pronoun dythat one necessarily refers to persons regardless of whether it used as a topic pronoun or a relative pronoun. Its counterpart dat 'refers' to non-persons. However, non-persons are barred from the possessor position, as illustrated below:

Example 11

a. *It lân syn eigner
the land his owner
The owner of the land
b. *De auto syn moter
the car his engine
The engine of the car

Likewise, the relative pronoun datthat is never found in possessor position:

Example 12

*It autootsje dat syn moter as it net die
the car.DIM that his engine COMP it not do
The car of which the engine did not function properly

In such cases, a PP built on the possessive preposition fanof must be used:

Example 13

It autootsje dêr't de moter it net fan die
the car.DIM R.COMP the engine it not of did
The car of which the engine did not function properly

In example (12), the possessive Adposition Phrase (PP) is found adjacent to the verb, to the right of the idiomatic object pronoun itit and to the right of the negation netnot. The NP with which it is construed occurs in subject position, to the left of the idiomatic object pronoun and to the left of negation. In the construction of this relative clause , the possessor PP has apparently been split off from the NP with which it is construed. In the absence of relativization, it is not possible to seperate the PP from the NP with which it is construed:

Example 14

?*Omdat de moter it net fan it autootsje die
because the engine it not of the car.DIM did
Because the engine of the car did not function properly

These facts suggest that the verb licenses an escape-hatch for prepositional complements. Incidentally, it should be noted that the non-person relative pronoun datthat may not occur in any type any type of free (headless) relative, regardless of whether it is interpreted as a subject, object or possessor.

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