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On Feb 24, 2012, at 10:04 AM, Armin Buch wrote:

> There's a construction in colloquial German that might be of interest:
> 
> dem Mann [sein Auto]
> the.DAT. man(.DAT) his.NOM car.NOM

I forgot to mention that in some languages with head marking in possession, if you don't specify a possessor, but the possessed is marked for possession, the resulting meaning is something belonging to the third person. It might be the case that other semantics are available in other languages, for instance an indefinite person ("someone's"), and I'm betting there's also variation on which numbers in the 3rd person can be expressed without an overt possessor.

I currently have two unrelated languages where some nouns are both obligatorily and inalienably possessed, so if you want to take about e.g. a hand without specifying whose it is, you have to use an indefinite possessor. Only one of those languages has the construct state, and in that one a construct state noun without an overt possessor is "his/her ___", whereas "someone's ___" would be shown by a clitic or affix deriving historically from the noun "person".