This paper provides an analysis of the phenomenon commonly known as external possession in the Bantu languages. On the basis of comparative data, I argue for a prototype approach to the intricate problem of determining the conditions of use of such constructions, which I rename Concernee-Concern constructions, introducing two new terms for the thematic roles involved. Situations can be expressed by means of Concernee-Concern construction if they correspond to the prototypical situation that involves somebody’s body part being affected by an action, or if they show a family resemblance to this situation. I argue against the relevance of alienability. The paper also provides a formal typology of Concernee-Concern constructions in the Bantu languages.
adamawa agreement applicative suffix areal linguistics augment bantu bena-yungur canonical approach comparative Bantu comparative concepts dictionary external possession grammar sketch historical syntax methodology noun classes noun phrase parametric approach possession proper names prosody prototypicality reconstruction reductionist approaches relative clauses scenario-based approach syntax tone word order éton