Possession Marking in Ossetic: Arguing for Caucasian Influences

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6 Scopus citations


In this article, I observe that Ossetic has a system of possessive pronouns with two features untypical for Iranian languages. First, along with genitive forms of full pronouns, it has a full paradigm of possessive proclitics. Second, while having accusative enclitics, it lacks possessive enclitics. I argue that the former trait is likely to have developed under West Caucasian influence. As for the absence of possessive enclitics, it is a nearly universal areal feature in the Caucasus. To substantiate these claims, I give an overview of possession marking in Iranian languages and in languages of the Caucasus and compare it to the Ossetic system. I suggest a possible scenario for the grammaticalization of possessive proclitics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-450
Number of pages34
JournalLinguistic Typology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Borrowing
  • Caucasus
  • Clitics
  • Contact
  • Grammaticalization
  • Inflection
  • Iranian
  • Linguistic area
  • Ossetic
  • Possession
  • Possessive pronouns
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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