Possessives with Adjectives

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This section illustrates the interesting interaction between modification morphology and the possessive suffix.

Possessive pronoun clitics can attach to any of the words in a string of noun-modifications.

 wiin es faaxu we		‘the my good people’
 people my good Det
 wiin faaxu es we
 people good my Det
 rew es daduk xoju mosu we       ‘the five thin beautiful women’
 women my five thin beautiful Det
 rew daduk es xoju mosu we
 women five my thin beautiful Det
 rew daduk xoju es mosu we
 women five thin my beautiful Det
 rew daduk xoju mosu es we
 women five thin beautiful my Det
 ataaya fañaayu es fe		‘the my spicy tea’
 tea spicy my Det
 ataaya es fañaayu fe				
 tea my spicy Det
 ataaya es ñyaayu ke		‘the my spicy teas’
 teas my spicy Det
 ataaya ñyaayu es ke
 teas spicy my Det
 fañiik es fambarʄu fe		          ‘the my ugly elephant’
 fañiik fambarʄu es fe

The possessive clitic can even occur on multiple of the modifiers, as well as to the noun itself:

 fañiik es fambarʄu famaak es fe	  ‘the my ugly big elephant’		
 fañiik fambarʄu es famaak fe			
 fañiik fambarʄu famaak es fe			
 pañiik es parʄu maak ke 		  ‘the my ugly big elephants’
 pañiik parʄu es maak ke
 pañiik parʄu maak es ke						
 pañiik es parʄu maak saƭku es ke‘the my ugly big strong elephants’
 xa nafad es xa lakas es axe	‘the my other shoes’

When this happens, in some word-final phonological environment there is contraction of the possessive clitic:

 ojafes oɗomu le				‘the my painful leg’
 ojaf odomes ole 
 ojaf odoms ole

There are some modifiers for which the possessor clitic attachment cannot occur:

 fideles sumu fe				‘the my hot fire’
 *fidel sumes fe

It is unclear to how many modifiers the possessive can attach before it stops being odd or unacceptable to the speaker. A threshold test definitely shows that a possessive on ALL modifiers is unacceptable, but any combination more than just two is not as clearly unacceptable:

 rew es daduk es xoju mosu we		‘the thin beautiful women’
 rew daduk es xoju mosu es we
 ?rew es daduk es xoju es mosu we
 #rew es daduk es xoju es mosu es we

Back to: Adjectives

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