In Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian, the adnominal possessive dative (APD)
construction is used alongside the nominal adjectival construction to express
possession. APD usage is double-edged – i.e., there are both issues of sociolinguistics/
perceptual dialectology involved as well as more formal syntacticpragmatic
ones. My respondents consistently labeled APD usage as “archaic,”
“old-fashioned,” “characteristic of the uneducated,” or “country-talk”. However,
judging by very similar acceptance levels of APDs in particular contexts
in all dialects, it appears that semantic role of the possessor and the level of
contextual effects and processing load involved in interpreting possessive
constructions weigh heavily on their acceptance. Therefore, I offer a model
that attempts to capture APD usage in terms of a set of hierarchical relationships
between the “possessor” and the “possessed”.
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