• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Inalienable possession
quickinfo

Body parts are the prototypical example of inalienable possession. Body parts are introduced by the definite article, and not by a possessive pronoun, in case the clause also contains an argument (subject or object) designating the person whose bode part it is. An example is given below:

Example 1

No hat Djurre it hier op it skouder hingjen
now has Djurre the hair on the shoulder hang
Now Djurre’s hair is hanging on his shoulder

The two body parts are both introduced by the definite article. The owner of the body part is mentioned in the same clause, and it is realised as the subject of the clause.

readmore

If the owner of the body part is not mentioned in the clause in which the body part occurs, then the possessive pronoun is usually found. An example is given below:

Example 2

Noch wie ik dwaande it lange latynske opskrift te ûntsiferjen doe't der in hân op myn skouder lein waard
still was I doing the long Latin inscription to decipher when there a hand on my shoulder laid was
I was still busy making out the long Latin inscription when a hand was put on my shoulder

Two different body parts are mentioned in the passive clause, belonging to two different owners. However, none of the two owners is realised as a subject or object argument of the clause containing the two body parts. In such a context the possessive pronoun may be found. It is also possible for two body parts from two different owners to be both realised in one and the same clause. In that case, the two body parts are introduced by the definite article, as in the example below:

Example 3

Hy lei master de hân op it skouder
he laid teacher the hand on the shoulder
He put his hand on the teacher’s shoulder

The subject is the owner of the body part in the direct object position and the indirect object masterteacher is the owner of the body part occurring in the position of locative prepositional object. The indirect object may also be expressed in an Adposition Phrase (PP) headed by the locative preposition byto:

Example 4

Hy lei by master de hân op it skouder
he laid to teacher the hand on the shoulder
He put his hand on the teacher’s shoulder

It is also possible for the body part to occur in subject position, while the owner is realised as an indirect object:

Example 5

Pas mar op, de holle rint jo aanst om
care DcP up the head moves you soon around
Take care or your head will start spinning

Such examples characteristically involve unaccusative verbs. They are conjugated with wêzebe in the perfect tense, although they are generally used in the simple present or simple past.

References:
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    phonology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    morphology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    syntax
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    • 6.5. Clausal subjects
      [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Adjectives and Adjective Phrases > 6 Predicative use of the adjective phrase
    • 3.2.1.3. The regular passive
      [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 3 Projection of verb phrases II:Verb frame alternations > 3.2. Alternations involving the external argument > 3.2.1. Passivization
    • 2.2.2. Non-resultative constructions
      [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 2 Projection of verb phrases I:Argument structure > 2.2. Complementives (secondary predicates)
    • 6.3. Supplementive use of the adjective
      [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Adjectives and Adjective Phrases > 6 Predicative use of the adjective phrase
    • 3.3.2.3.2. Restrictive relative clauses
      [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 3 Projection of noun phrases II: modification > 3.3. Postmodification > 3.3.2. Relative clauses > 3.3.2.3. Restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses
    Show more ▼
    cite
    print