Producer Interpretations of the English Pre-Nominal Genitive

  • Per Anker Jensen
  • Carl Vikner


This paper presents a theory of the pre-nominal genitive in English based on the claims that it is argument-only and polymorphic, on the one hand allowing a control interpretation delivered by ‘s itself, and, on the other hand, three ‘constructional interpretations’: an inherently relational, a partwhole, and a producer interpretation delivered by the head noun of the genitive construction. The paper addresses four types of evidence seeming to raise problems for the claim that producer interpretations are semantic, i.e. available as default interpretations, rather than pragmatic. We argue that in spite of this evidence, the hypothesis can be upheld. Finally, independent evidence is adduced concerning the semantics of the Hebrew Construct State Construction, which allows precisely the range of semantic interpretations we have proposed for the English pre-nominal genitive, including the producer interpretation, while not allowing pragmatic interpretations.
How to Cite
Jensen, P. A., & Vikner, C. (2019). Producer Interpretations of the English Pre-Nominal Genitive. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 7, 173-183.