Having 'need' and Needing 'Have'

Stephanie Harves, Richard S. Kayne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A survey of a number of the world's languages reveals that only those languages that have a transitive verb used to express possession (i.e., Have-languages) also have a transitive verb 'need'. No Be-language lacking a transitive verb for possession has a transitive verb 'need'. This generalization suggests a Hale and Keyser (1993, 2002)-style incorporation approach, whereby nominal 'need' incorporates to an unpronounced verbal HAVE, yielding transitive verbal 'need'.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)120-132
    Number of pages13
    JournalLinguistic Inquiry
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 2012


    • Be-languages
    • Have-languages
    • Incorporation
    • Possession
    • Transitive 'need'

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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