Split possession and definiteness marking in American Norwegian
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNordic Journal of Linguistics. 2021, 44 (2), 182-219. 10.1017/S0332586521000135
This article discusses definiteness marking in two possessive constructions that exhibit special patterns (split possession) for certain kinship nouns in Norwegian. It is shown that the special patterns, whereby the relevant nouns appear without a definite suffix, are retained by the majority speakers of American Norwegian (AmNo); some AmNo speakers use them even more extensively than homeland speakers, and only a minority do not use them. The forms without the suffix are analysed as a reflex of a POSS feature that is a part of the featural make-up of certain kinship nouns (Julien 2005). I argue that the most conspicuous differences in distribution of this feature in the homeland vs. the heritage variety have emerged through a combination of decline in homeland Norwegian and retention and even extension in AmNo. The development in AmNo seems to be systematic and principled; it does not involve “loss” or incompleteness (e.g., Yager et al. 2015; Kupisch & Rothman 2016; Bayram et al. 2019).