Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 13:36:35 -0600

From: "Salikoko S. Mufwene" s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UCHICAGO.EDU

Subject: Re: why the male member is not referred to as Gertrude

In message Wed, 6 Mar 1996 13:52:32 -0500,

Ronald Butters amspeech[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ACPUB.DUKE.EDU writes:

I believe that there is a technical term for this: "inalienable

possession." Some languages mirror the difference, e.g., in French one

says (as I recall) "Je vais a' laver mes chats" but "Je vais a' me laver

les mains."

Minor improvement on your examples, Ron. There should be no preposition in

these examples: "Je vais laver mes chats"/"Je vais me laver les mains". Lest

your example is misunderstood, the inalienable possession construction need

not be reflexive, e.g., "J'enleve le manteau/chapeau"

I take my/the coat/hat off

(The French construction is indeed ambiguous but one of its interpretartion

is with the inalinable possession meaning.)



Salikoko S. Mufwene s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

University of Chicago 312-702-8531

Department of Linguistics FAX: 312-702-9861

1010 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637