Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

The Semantics of Possession in Natural Language and Knowledge Representation

Anders Søgaard1
1University of Copenhagen

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


The semantics of possession is explored in a representative set of languages to evaluate two contemporary theories. It is evidenced that the theories describe different aspects of the universal possessive system, and that both provide relevant theoretical constructs for the vocabulary of linguistic typology. Our findings also have consequences for knowledge representation, and in the appendix, our new vocabulary is employed in the analysis of related linguistic phenomena.

Keywords: possessives; semantics; cross-linguistic comparison; knowledge representation



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