Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 13:36:35 -0600 From: "Salikoko S. Mufwene" Subject: Re: why the male member is not referred to as Gertrude In message Wed, 6 Mar 1996 13:52:32 -0500, Ronald Butters 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.) Sali. ********************************************************************** 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 **********************************************************************