Allomorph Alternation in Ezafe/Possessive Constructions in Sanandaji Kurdish: A Distributed Morphology Approach

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 M.A. Graduate in Linguistics, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Conditions governing Ezafe/possessive marker allomorphy in Sanandaji Kurdish are of vital importance. There are four possible cases for the head noun of Ezafe construction; i.e. it can be definite and accompanied by an adjective; definite without any adjective complement; and indefinite with or without an adjective complement. Also, there are two possible cases for the head noun of possessive constructions; i.e. it is always definite, but it may be accompanied by an adjective complement or not. Amongst them, there is just one case with an evident case marker «=æ»:  A definite noun phrase accompanied by an adjective reflects the Ezafe/possessive relation by linker «=æ», otherwise «=i» inserts. Hence, the rationale behind the aforementioned morpho-syntactic conditions is a challenging issue in Ezafe/possessive constructions. Furthermore the distinctive interpretation of the two constructions; is not to be disregarded just the possessive construction bears the meaning of possession. The present paper aims at investigating Ezafe/possessive constructions from a Distributed Morphology view and provides an analysis of their derivations which explains the structural similarities and constraints determining the alternation of case marking. It is supposed, the value of features in «Ez» determines the winner of the competition between «=æ» and «=i». Accordingly, when uninterpretable features in node Ez are valued as [Ez, +MOD, +DEF], «=æ» inserts into the node, and in other three cases, based on the under-specification principle «=i» inserts. Also, the difference in morphological features of the Complement of EzP nodes is responsible for the distinctive meaning of Ez- and Possessive constructions. In possessive constructions, the head of the adjective phrase, as a complement of EzP, contains an uninterpretable feature [POSS] which must be satisfied by merging EzP node with a possessive complement. Therefore the difference is related to the complement of EzP not the Ez node itself.


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Volume 10, Issue 1
June 2019
Pages 39-58
  • Receive Date: 22 December 2018
  • Revise Date: 13 February 2019
  • Accept Date: 07 June 2019
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2019