The inalienability pattern of English and Norwegian

How to Cite

Thunes, Martha. 2013. “The Inalienability Pattern of English and Norwegian”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 3 (1).


With reference to the language pair English-Norwegian, the present paper discusses nominal phrases referring to so-called inalienable possessions. In such cases, the relation of possession is typically expressed through obligatory possessor marking in English, and through possessor suppression in Norwegian, i.e., whereas the use of possessive determiners is obligatory in English, the semantic property of inalienabilty is in Norwegian expressed by definite form and no possessive. Exampes illustrating this translational pattern will be presented, and some corpus data will be considered. This will support a prototypical view of what classes of nouns fall within the pattern. Since there is a systematic difference in inalienability marking between English and Norwegian, it will be argued that the translation of noun phrases referring to inalienables is predictable within this language pair, because it is derivable from information about the two language systems.

Keywords: contrastive grammar; possession; inalienability marking; English-Norwegian translation; translational complexity

Copyright (c) 2013 Martha Thunes

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