Datapoint Papiamentu/Marking of possessor noun phrases

Papiamentu does not allow an unmarked possessive construction where the possessor and possessed are juxtaposed without any mark of their relationship. Instead, speakers choose between a prepositional possessive (with the preposition di) and an originally dislocated possessive, which employs what looks like a resumptive possessive pronoun preceding the possessed, but is here regarded as a postposition.

As far as I know, no quantitative study of Papiamentu possessives has been carried out. Tentatively we can say that the construction with di is more frequent.

The postpositional possessive uses su, which is also the 3rd person singular possessive pronoun. Although full NP possessors are inherently 3rd person, the occurrence of su with both singular and plural possessors shows that it has no number features.
Moreover, the occasional use of non-3rd person plural pronouns in the possessor position of this construction (e.g. boso tur su trabou [2PL all 3SG.POSS work] 'the work of all of you', Maurer 1988: 38) shows that su is essentially a marker of the possessive relationship, and has no pronominal features whatsoever – it is a postposition.

The prepositional construction, which uses the preposition di to mark the possessor, is also used to denote partitives, source relationships, etc. Moreover, it is also used to form phrasal compounds, the most productive word formation process of Papiamentu (Dijkhoff 1993). As a result, sequences consisting of N + di + N are often potentially ambiguous between a range of interpretations.

Values

Adpositional or case marking of possessor

Example 47-71:
e kushina di Eric su kas
e
def
kushina
kitchen
di
of
Eric
Eric
su
poss
kas
house
the kitchen of Eric's house

Source: Kouwenberg & Murray 1994: 50

Example 47-72:
El a bula subi riba lomba di Cha Tiger.
E
3sg
a
pfv
bula
jump
subi
go.up
riba
on
lomba
back
di
of
Cha
Brother
Tiger.
Tiger
He jumped on Brother Tiger's back

Source: Pinto 1965: 18

Example 47-6:
Hose su kas
Hose
Hose
su
poss
kas
house
Hose's house

Source: Maurer 1988a: 38

Example 47-8:
e muchanan su bukinan
e
def
mucha
child
nan
pl
su
poss
buki
book
nan
pl
the children's books

Source: Maurer 1988a: 38

Example 47-5:
boso tur su trabou
boso
2pl
tur
all
su
poss
trabou
work
the work of you all

Source: Maurer 1988a: 38

Example 47-38:
Roberto tin Roberto su buki?
Roberto
Roberto
tin
have
Roberto
Roberto
su
poss
buki?
book
Do you have your book? (Literally: Does Roberto have Roberto's book?)

Source: Birmingham 1970: 64

Confidence:
Very certain