Genitive Case in World Languages


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This map shows the distribution of genitive case in world language with respect to order of genitive or possessor noun phrase in relation to the head noun.

For example – in English language ‘Pablo’s  carPablo’s is the genitive noun phrase, and car is the head noun . 

or in Hindi-Urdu language

Pablo kI kAr (पाब्लो की कार)Pablo kI  is the genitive noun phrase, and kAr is the head noun.

In the map above Red dots mark the languages with Head Noun-Genitive order, while Blue dots mark languages with Genitive-Head Noun Order. The grey  ones are those which follow no particular order. That means – 

  • In Europe if you speak, Finnish, Hungarian, Swedish, Danish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian , Basque & Turkish, then you will have no problem forming  Genitive-Head Noun phrases like Hindi-Urdu, because they all do the same.
  • In Asia, if you speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, Armenian, Korean, Georgian, Pashto,  Burmese,Nepali, Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Sinhala  & Tibetan, then you would definitely know how to form Genitive-Head Noun phrases like Hindi-Urdu.
  • In Africa & south America, there are many smaller languages which follow the order of Genitive-Head Noun phrases like Hindi-Urdu.

Source – WALS online

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