In linguistics, inalienable possession (abbreviated ) is a type of possession in which a noun is obligatorily possessed by its possessor. Nouns or nominal affixes in an inalienable possession relationship cannot exist independently or be "alienated" from their possessor. Inalienable nouns include body parts (such as ''leg'', which is necessarily "someone's leg", even if severed from the body), kinship terms (such as ''mother''), and part-whole relations (such as ''top''). Many languages reflect this distinction, but they vary on how they mark inalienable possession. Cross-linguistically, inalienability correlates with many morphological, syntactic, and semantic properties. In general, the alienable–inalienable distinction is an example of a binary possessive class system, a language in which two kinds of possession are distinguished (alienable and inalienable). The alienability distinction is the most common kind of binary possessive class system, but it is not the only one. Some languages have more than two possessive classes. In Papua New Guinea, for example, Anêm has at least 20 classes and Amele has 32. Statistically, 15–20% of the world's languages have obligatory possession.

Comparison to alienable possession

With inalienable possession, the two entities have a permanent association where the possessed has little control over their possessor. So, for instance, body parts (under normal circumstances) do not change nor can they be removed from their possessor. The following real-world relationships often fall under inalienable possession: Alienable possession, on the other hand, has a less permanent association between the two entities. For instance, most objects may or may not be possessed. When such types of objects are possessed, the possession is alienable. Alienable possession is used generally for tangible items that one might cease to own at some point (such as ''my money''), but inalienable possession generally refers to a perpetual relationship that cannot be readily severed (such as ''my mother'' or ''my arm'').

Variation among languages

Although the relationships listed above are likely to be instances of inalienable possession, what is ultimately classified as inalienable depends on conventions, specific to the language and the culture. It is impossible to say that a particular relationship is an example of inalienable possession without specifying the languages for which that holds true. For example, ''neighbor'' may be an inalienable noun in one language but alienable in another. Thus, whether a certain type of relationship is described as alienable or inalienable can be arbitrary, and in that respect, alienability is similar to other types of noun classes such as grammatical gender. The examples below illustrate that the same phrase, ''the table's legs'', is regarded as inalienable possession in Italian but alienable possession in French: (1b) is ungrammatical (as indicated by the asterisk). French cannot use the inalienable possession construction for a relationship that is alienable. Bernd Heine argues that language change is responsible for the language-specific variability in categorization. Heine states that, "rather than being a semantically defined category, inalienability is more likely to constitute a morphosyntactic or morphophonological entity, one that owes its existence to the fact that certain nouns happened to be left out when a new pattern for marking attributive possession arose." Under his view, nouns that are "ignored" by a new marking pattern come to form a separate noun class.

Morphosyntactic strategies for marking distinction

The distinction between alienable and inalienable possession is often marked by various morphosyntactic properties such as morphological markers and word order. There is a strong typological pattern for inalienable possession to require fewer morphological markers than alienable possession constructions. Inalienable possession constructions involve two nouns or nominals: the possessor and the possessee. Together, they form a unit, called a determiner phrase (DP). Within the DP, the possessor nominal may occur either before the possessee (prenominal) or after its possessee (postnominal), depending on the language. French, for example, can use a postnominal possessor (the possessor ''(of) Jean'' occurs after the possessee ''the arm''): By contrast, English generally uses a prenominal possessor (''Johns brother''). However, in some situations, it may also use a postnominal possessor, as in ''the brother of John''.

Morphological markers

No overt possessive markers

The South American language Dâw uses a special possessive morpheme (bold in the examples below) to indicate alienable possession. The possessive morpheme ''ɛ̃̀ɟ'' in examples (3) and (4) indicates an alienable relationship between the possessor and the possessee. The possessive marker does not occur in inalienable possession constructions. Thus, the absence of ''ɛ̃̀ɟ'', as in example (5), indicates that the relationship between the possessor and possessee is inalienable possession.

Identical possessor deletion

Igbo, a West African language, deletes the possessor if the sentence's subject and the possessor of an inalienable noun both refer to the same entity. In (6a), both the referents are the same; however, it is ungrammatical to keep both of them in a sentence. Igbo employs the processes of identical possessor deletion, and the ''yá'' (''his''), is dropped, as in the grammatical (6b). Similar is the case with some Slavic languages, notably Serbian:

Word order

Possessor switch

The distinction between alienable and inalienable possession constructions may be marked by a difference in word order. Igbo uses another syntactic process when the subject and the possessor refer to different entities. In possessor switch, the possessor of the inalienable noun is placed as close as possible to the verb. In the following examples, the possessor ''yá'' is not deleted because the two referents in the following sentence are different: In the ungrammatical (8a), the verb ''wàra'' (''to split'') follows the possessor ''m''. Possessor switch requires the verb to be placed closer to the possessor. The grammatical (8b) does so by having ''wàra'' switch with the possessor:

Genitive-noun ordering

Maybrat, a language from New Guinea, varies the order of the genitive case and the noun between alienable and inalienable constructions: In (9), the genitive ''Sely'' precedes the possessee ''me'', marking inalienable possession. However, the genitive follows the possessee in alienable possession constructions, such as (10) whose genitive ''Petrus'' follows the possessee ''amah''.

Explicit possessors

Another way that languages can distinguish between alienable and inalienable possession is to have one noun class that cannot appear without an explicit possessor. For example, Ojibwe, an Algonquian language, has a class of nouns that must have explicit possessors.Valentine, J. Randolph ''Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar.'' Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2001. §3.3.1. pg. 106 ff.Nichols, J. D.; Nyholm, E. ''A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.'' 1995. If explicit possessors are absent (as in (11b) and (12b)), the phrase is ungrammatical. In (11), the possessor ''ni'' is necessary for the inalienable noun ''nik'' (''arm''). In (12), the same phenomenon is found with the inalienable noun ''ookmis'' (''grandmother''), which requires the possessor morpheme ''n'' to be grammatical.


Hawaiian uses different prepositions to mark possession, depending on alienability: ''a'' (alienable ''of'') is used to indicate alienable possession, as in (13a) and (14a), and ''o'' (inalienable ''of'') indicates inalienable possession. However, the distinction between ''a'' (alienable ''of'') and ''o'' (inalienable ''of'') is used for other semantic distinctions that are less clearly attributable to common alienability relationships except metaphorically. Although ''lei'' is a tangible object, in Hawaiian it can be either alienable (15a) or inalienable (15b), depending on the context.

Definite articles

Subtler cases of syntactic patterns sensitive to alienability are found in many languages. For example, French can use a definite article, rather than the possessive, for body parts. Using the definite article with body parts, as in the example above, creates ambiguity. Thus, the sentence has both an alienable and an inalienable interpretation: This type of ambiguity also occurs in English with body part constructions. Spanish also uses a definite article (''las'') to indicate inalienable possession for body parts. German uses a definite article (''die'') for inalienable body parts but a possessive (''meine'') for alienable possession.

No distinction in grammar

Although English has alienable and inalienable nouns (''Mary's brother'' nalienablevs. ''Mary's squirrel'' lienable, there are few formal distinctions of that in the grammar. One subtle grammatical distinction is the postnominal genitive construction, which is normally used only for inalienable, relational nouns. For example, ''the brother of Mary'' nalienableis acceptable, but *''the squirrel of Mary'' lienablewould be awkward. Since the alienability distinction is rooted in semantics, in languages like English with few morphological or syntactic distinctions sensitive to alienability, ambiguities can occur. For example, the phrase ''she has her father's eyes'' has two different meanings: Another example in semantic dependency is the difference between possible interpretations in a language that marks inalienable possession (such as French) with a language that does not mark it (such as English). Inalienable possession is semantically dependent and is defined in reference to another object to which it belongs. (20) is ambiguous and has two possible meanings. In the inalienable possessive interpretation, ''la main'' belongs to the subject, ''les enfants''. The second interpretation is that ''la main'' is an alienable object that does not belong to the subject. The English equivalent of the sentence (''The children raised the hand'') had only the alienable possessive reading in which the hand does not belong to the children. Syntactically, Noam Chomsky proposed that some genitive or possessive cases originate as part of the determiner in the underlying structure. The inalienable possessives are derived from a different deep structure than that of alienable possession. For example, given the following interpretations of the phrase ''John's arm'': In the inalienable reading, ''arm'' is a complement of the determiner phrase. That contrasts to the alienable reading in which ''John has an arm'' is part of the determiner. Charles J. Fillmore and Chomsky make a syntactic distinction between alienable and inalienable possession and suggest that the distinction is relevant to English. In contrast, others have argued that although semantics plays a role in inalienable possession, it is not central to the syntactic class of case-derived possessives. For example, compare the difference between ''the book's contents'' and ''the book's jacket''. While a book cannot be divorced from its contents, it can be removed from its jacket. Still, both phrases have the same syntactic structure. Another example is ''Mary's mother'' and ''Mary's friend.'' The mother will always be Mary's mother, but an individual might not always be Mary's friend. Again, both have the same syntactic structure. The distinction between alienable and inalienable possessions can be influenced by cognitive factors. Languages such as English that do not encode the alienability distinction in their grammar rely on the real-world relationship between the possessed noun and possessor noun. Nouns that are "inherently relational" and whose possession is associated with a single, dominant interpretation (''mother''), are of the inalienable type, and nouns whose possession is open to interpretation (''car'') are of the alienable type.

Cross-linguistic properties

Although there are different methods of marking inalienability, inalienable possession constructions usually involve the following features: * The distinction is confined to attributive possession. * Alienable possession requires more phonological or morphological features than inalienable possession. *Inalienable possession involves a tighter structural bond between the possessor and the possessee. * Possessive markers on inalienable nouns are etymologically older * Inalienable nouns include kinship terms and/or body parts. * Inalienable nouns form a closed class, but alienable nouns form an open class. (Heine 1997: 85-86 (1-6))

Restricted to attributive possession

Alienability can be expressed only in attributive possession constructions, not in predicative possession. Attributive possession is a type of possession in which the possessor and possessee form a phrase. That contrasts to predicative possession constructions in which the possessor and possessee are part of a clause and the verb affirms the possessive relationship. The examples in (21) express the same alienable relationship between possessor and possessee but illustrate the difference between attributive and predicative possession:

Requires fewer morphological features

If a language has separate alienable and inalienable possession constructions, and if one of the constructions is overtly marked and the other is "zero-marked", the marked form tends to be alienable possession. Inalienable possession is indicated by the absence of the overt marker. An example is the data from Dâw. One typological study showed that in 78% of South American languages that distinguish between inalienable and alienable possession, inalienable possession was associated with fewer morphological markers than its alienable counterpart. By contrast, only one of the surveyed languages required more morphological features to mark inalienable possession than alienable possession. If a language makes a grammatical distinction between alienable and inalienable nouns, it is redundant to have an overt possessive marker to mark inalienability. Just by being inalienable, a noun must be possessed.

Tighter structural bond between possessor and possessee

In inalienable possession constructions, the relationship between the possessor and possessee is stronger than in alienable possession constructions. Johanna Nichols characterizes that by the tendency of inalienable possession to be head-marked but alienable possession to be dependent-marked. In head-marking, the head of an inalienable possession construction (the possessed noun) is marked, but in dependent-marking, the dependent (the possessor noun) is marked.

Theories of representation in syntax

Since the possessor is crucially linked to an inalienable noun's meaning, inalienable nouns are assumed to take their possessors as a semantic argument. Possessors (to either alienable or inalienable nouns) can be expressed with different constructions. Possessors in the genitive case (such as ''the friend of Mary'') appear as complements to the possessed noun, as part of the phrase headed by the inalienable noun. That is an example of internal possession since the possessor of the noun is inside of the determiner phrase.

External possession

Internal possession in French. The possessor and possessee are contained inside the same phrase (circled in red). Sentence adapted from Vergnaud and Zubizarreta 1992: 596 (6b) Inalienable possession can also be marked with external possession. Such constructions have the possessor appearing outside the determiner phrase. For example, the possessor may appear as a dative complement of the verb. French exhibits both external possessor construction and internal possessor construction, as in (22): However, those types of possessors are problematic. There is a discrepancy between the possessor appearing syntactically in an inalienable possession construction and what its semantic relationship to the inalienable noun seems to be. Semantically, the possessor of an inalienable noun is intrinsic to its meaning and acts like a semantic argument. On the surface syntactic structure, however, the possessor appears in a position that marks it as an argument of the verb. Thus, there are different views on how those types of inalienable possession constructions should be represented in the syntactic structure. The binding hypothesis argues that the possessor is an argument of the verb. Conversely, the possessor-raising hypothesis argues that the possessor originates as an argument of the possessed noun and then moves to a position in which on the surface, it looks like it is an argument of the verb.

Binding hypothesis (Guéron 1983)

The binding hypothesis reconciles the fact that the possessor appears both as a syntactic and semantic argument of the verb but as a semantic argument of the possessed noun. It assumes that inalienable possession constructions are subject to the following syntactic constraints: It is assumed that inalienable possession constructions are one form of anaphoric binding: obligatory control. Thus, the possessor DP originates in the specifier of the verb; the fact that the possessor seems to be a semantic argument of the noun arises from the binding relationship between the possessor and possessee DPs. The parallel between inalienable possession constructions and obligatory control can be seen in the examples below: That hypothesis accounts for differences between French and English, and it may also eliminate the ambiguity created by definite determiners. According to this hypothesis, anaphoric binding in inalienable possession constructions relates to the theta-features that a language assigns to its determiners. The hypothesis predicts that inalienable possession constructions exist in languages that assign variable theta-features to its determiners and that inalienable possession constructions do not exist in languages that lack variable theta-feature assignment. Therefore, inalienable possession is predicted to exist in Romance languages and even Russian but not in languages like English or Hebrew. In the French sentence ''Il lève les mains'', the determiner ''les'' is assigned theta-features. Thus, it is understood as inalienable possession. However, in the English translation, the determiner ''the'' does not have theta-features because English is considered does not assign theta-features to its determiners. Therefore, ''the'' does not necessarily signify inalienable possession and so ambiguity surfaces. That hypothesis, however, does not account for verbs allowing reflexive anaphora (''Jean se'' lave 'Jean washes himself'). To account for the grammaticality of such verbs, Guéron proposes that in an inalienable construction the POSS DP (possessor DP) and BP DP (body part DP) constitute two links of a lexical chain, in addition to their anaphoric relation. The two links of a lexical chain must obey the same constraints as anaphora, which accounts for the locality restrictions on inalienable construals. Every chain is then associated with one theta-role. Inalienable possession surfaces as ungrammatical when the possessed DP and the possessor DP are assigned two different theta-roles by the verb. That explains why sentence (24b) is ungrammatical. The POSS DP is assigned an agent theta-role, and the BP DP is assigned a theme theta-role.

Possessor-raising hypothesis (Landau 1999)

Possessor-raising is a syntactic hypothesis that attempts to explain the structures of inalienable DPs. Landau argues that the possessor is initially introduced in the specifier position of DP (Spec-DP), but it later raises to the specifier of the VP. The possessor DP gets its theta-role from the head D, and that gives rise to the meaning that the possessor is related to the possessee. Landau's analysis is made on the basis of several properties possessives in the data case in Romance languages. The French data below illustrate how that is thought to work. The possessor ''lui'' originates in the specifier of DP as an argument of the noun ''figure''. That is equivalent to an underlying structure ''Gilles a lavé lui la figure.'' The possessor raises to the specifier of VP, which is seen in the surface structure ''Gilles lui a lavé la figure.'' According to Guéron, a benefit of the hypothesis is that it is consistent with principles of syntactic movement such as locality of selection and c-command. If the position to which it needs to move is already filled, as with a transitive verb like ''see'', the possessor cannot raise, and the sentence is correctly predicted to be ungrammatical. However, some languages such as Russian do not have to raise the DP possessor and can leave it ''in situ'', making it unclear why the possessor would ever have to raise. Possessor-raising also violates a constraint on syntactic movement, the specificity constraint: an element cannot be moved out of a DP if that DP is specific. In (23), the DP ''lui'' is specific, yet possessor-raising predicts it can be moved out of the larger DP ''lui la figure''. Such movement is excluded by the specificity constraint.

Form function motivations

Inalienable possession constructions often lack overt possessors. There is a debate as to how to account for the linguistically-universal difference in form. Iconicity explains the in terms of the relationship between the conceptual distance between the possessor and possessee, and economy explains it by the frequency of possession.

Iconic motivation (Haiman 1983)

Haiman describes iconic expression and conceptual distance and how both concepts are conceptually close if they share semantic properties, affect each other and cannot be separated from each other. Joseph Greenberg hypothesizes that the distance between the possessor and possessee in a sentence with alienable possession is greater than in a sentence with inalienable constructions. Because the possessor and the possessee have a close conceptual relationship, their relative positions with a sentence reflect that and there is little distance between them. Increasing the distance between the two would, in turn, increase their conceptual independence. That is demonstrated in Yagaria, a Papuan language. It marks alienable possession by a free form pronoun as in (27a). In contrast, inalienable possession constructions use an inalienable possessor prefixed on the possessee, as in (27b). That construction has less linguistic distance between the possessor and possessee than in the alienable construction: However, there are cases of linguistic distance not necessarily reflecting conceptual distance. In Mandarin Chinese, there are two ways to express the same type of possession, POSSESSOR + POSSESSEE and POSSESSOR + de + POSSESSEE; the latter has more linguistic distance between the possessor and possessee, but it reflects the same conceptual distance. Both possessive expressions, with and without the marker ''de'', are found in the Mandarin phrase "my friend", seen in (28a) compared to (28b): In contrast to the previous example, the omission of the marker ''de'' is ungrammatical, as in example (29b). The linguistic distance between the possessor and possessee is much smaller in (29b) than in (29a). It has been argued that the omission of ''de'' occurs only in kinship relationships, but phrasal constructions with a mandatory ''de'' encompasses other inalienable possession examples, such as body parts. That contradicts the notion that inalienable possession is marked by less linguistic distance between the possessor and possessee.

Economic motivation (Nichols 1988)

Nichols notes that frequently-possessed nouns, such as body parts and kinship terms, almost always occur with possessors, and alienable nouns occur with possessors less often. The following shows the frequency of possession between alienable and unalienable nouns in German. The table below shows the number of times each noun occurred with or without a possessor in texts from the German Goethe-Corpus, the works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The alienable nouns above are rarely possessed, but the inalienable kinship terms are frequently possessed. Consequently, inalienable nouns are expected to be possessed even if they lack a distinct possessive marker. Therefore, overt markings on inalienable nouns are redundant, and to employ economical syntactic construction, languages often zero-mark their inalienable nouns. That could be explained by Zipf's Law in which the familiarity or the frequency of an occurrence motivates the linguistic simplification of the concept. A listener who hears an inalienable noun can predict that it will be possessed, thereby eliminating the need for an overt possessor.

Glossary of abbreviations

Morpheme glosses

Syntactic trees

Other languages

Austronesian Languages


Old Rapa is the indigenous language of Rapa Iti, an island of French Polynesia located within its Bass Islands archipelago. Within the language structure of Rapa are two primary possessive particles, a and o. The usage of the two particles is dependent on the relation between the possessor and the object. When words of the language are categorized by possessive particles, there is a very close resemblance to the usage of the possessive particle and the object's alienability. However, this relation is better defined by William Wilson in his article ''Proto-Polynesian Possessive Marking''. Briefly, through his two theories, the Simple Control Theory and Initial Control Theory, Wilson can contrast and thus better define the usage of the possessive particles, a and o. The Simple Control Theory speculates that the determining factor directly correlated to the possessor's control over the object; emphasizing a dominant vs. less-dominant relationship. Old Rapa adheres closer to the latter of Wilson's two theories, the Initial Control Theory, which speculates that "the possessor's control over the initiation of the possessive relationship is the determining factor." Here, his Initial Control Theory can also be generally expanded to the whole Polynesian language family in terms of better describing the "alienability" of possession.WILSON, WILLIAM H. 1982. Proto-Polynesian possessive marking. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. In the case of Old Rapa, the possession particle, o, is used to define a possession relationship that was not initiated on the basis of choice. The possession particle, a, is defines possession relationships that are initiated through the possessor's control. The following list and classifications are literal examples provided by Mary Walworth, in her dissertation of the Rapa language. Words that are marked with the o possessive markers are nouns that are: * Inalienable (leg, hand, foot) * A whole of which the possessor is a permanent part (household) * Kinship (father, mother, brother) * Higher social or religious status (teacher, pastor, president) * Vehicles (canoe, car) * Necessary actions (work) * Involuntary body functions (heartbeat, stomach, pupils, breathing) * Words that relate to indigenous identity (language, country) However, Wilson's theory does fall short in properly categorizing a few miscellaneous items such as articles of clothing and furniture that his theory would incorrectly predict to be marked with an a-possessive particle. The reverse would occur forobjects such as food and animals. The synthesis of Wilson's theory and other approach a better understanding of the Rapa language. Svenja Völkel proposed the idea of looking further into the ritualistic beliefs of the community, namely their mana. That idea has been relatable to other languages in the Eastern Polynesian language family, and it states that objects that possess less mana than the possessor are indicated with the a-possessive particle, and the usage of the o-possessive marker is reserved for the possessor's mana not being superior. The same usage of the possessive particles, a and o, in possessive pronouns can be seen in the contracted portmanteau, the combination of the articles and possessive markers. The resultants are the tō and tā prefixes in the following possessive pronouns, as can be seen in the table below:


Wuvulu language is a small language spoken in Wuvulu Island. Direct possession has a close relationship with inalienability in the Oceanic linguistics. Similarly, the inherent possession of the possessor is called the possessum. The inalienable noun also has a possessor suffix and includes body parts, kinship terms, locative part nouns, and derived nouns. According to Hafford's research, "-u" (my), "-mu" (your) and "na-"(his/her/its) are three direct possession suffix in Wuvulu. * Body parts Direct- possession suffix "-u"(my), "-mu" (your) and "na-"(his/her/its) can be taken to attach the noun phrase of body part. * Kinship terms Kinship terms in Wuvulu language take singular possessive suffixes. * Derived nouns (Nouns that derived from other words) Example: ʔei wareamu (Your word) is derived from the verb ware (talk) This kind of word can take the direct possessor suffix. "-mu" (your {singular]) faʔua, ʔei ware-a-mu true the talk-DER-2SG Your words are true.


Here is a table displaying the predicative possessive pronouns in Tokelauan language|Tokelauan: {| class="wikitable" ! !Singular !Dual !Plural |- |1st person incl. | |''o taua, o ta'' ''a taua, a ta'' |''o tatou'' ''a tatou'' |- |1st person excl. |''o oku, o kita'' ''a aku, a kite'' |''o maua, o ma o'' ''a maua, a ma a'' |''matou'' ''matou'' |- |2nd person |''o ou/o koe'' ''a au/a koe'' |''o koulua'' ''a koulua'' |''o koutou'' ''a koutou'' |- |3rd person |''o ona'' ''a ona'' |''o laua, o la'' ''a laua, a la'' |''o latou'' ''a latou'' Here is a table showing Tokelauan premodifying possessive pronouns: {| class="wikitable" |- !Possessor !Singular reference !Plural reference ! |- |1 singular |''toku, taku, tota, tata'' |''oku, aku, ota, ata'' | |- |2 singular |''to, tau'' |''o, au'' | |- |3 singular |''tona, tana'' |''ona, ana'' | |- |1 dual incl. |''to ta, to taua'' ''ta ta, ta taue'' |''o ta, o taue'' ''a ta, a taua'' | |- |1 dual excl. |''to ma, to maua'' ''ta ma, ta maua'' |''o ma, o maua'' ''a ma, a maua'' | |- |2 dual |''toulua, taulua'' |''oulua, aulua'' | |- |3 dual |''to la, to laue'' ''ta la, ta laue'' |''o la, o laua'' ''a la a laua'' | |- |1 plural incl. |''to tatou, ta tatou'' |''o tatou, a tatou'' | |- |1 plural excl. |''to matou, ta matou'' |''o matou, a matou'' | |- |2 plural |''toutou, tautau'' |''outou, autou'' | |- |3 plural |''to latou, ta latau'' |''o latou, a latou'' | |- | |''NON-SPECIFIC/INDEFINITE'' | | |- |1 singular |''hoku, hota'' ''haku, hata'' |''ni oku, ni ota'' ''niaku, niata'' | |- |2 singular |''ho, hau'' |''ni o, ni au'' | |- |3 singular |''hona, hana'' |''ni ona, ni ana'' | |- |1 dual incl. |''ho ta, ho taua'' ''ha ta, ha taua'' |''ni o ta, ni o taue'' ''ni a ta, ni a taua'' | |- |1 dual excl. |''ho ma, ho maua'' ''ha ma, ha maua'' |''ni o ma, ni o maua'' ''ni a ma, ni a maua'' | |- |2 dual |houlua, haulua |ni oulua, ni aulua |

See also

* Possession (linguistics) * Obligatory possession * Noun class * Determiner phrase * Noun phrase * Possessive * Possessive affix * English possessive * Genitive case



External links

A map of the world's languages colored by possessive classification complexity
from the World Atlas of Language Structures. {{Formal semantics Category:Grammatical categories Category:Grammar Category:Genitive construction Category:Grammatical construction types