I have noticed a peculiar semantic non-linearity that affects my internal grammar. (I’m not sure whether it’s common to English speakers, or if it’s just me!) Anyway, say if Alice and Bob own some tasty chocolate, my grammar allows this contraction:
Alice and Bob’s chocolate tastes awesome!
Note that only Bob is phonetically marked as being in the genitive case, but it’s understood that Alice is also included. That is, it seems that genitive distribution over conjunction is implied in [my] English. Moreover, this same logic applies equally to lists of arbitrary length, as well as to disjunctions:
Is this chocolate Alice, Bob or Carol’s?
My grammar also allows me to mark each element in the list in the genitive (i.e., explicit distribution), but it’s very much a marked reading for me:
(?) Alice’s and Bob’s chocolate tastes awesome!
Indeed, not only is this marked, but my linguistic instinct is confused. For me, there’s a possible reading that is more akin to, “Alice’s chocolate and Bob’s chocolate, which aren’t necessarily the same, both taste awesome!” That’s a significant distinction and it’s only the conjugation of “taste” that errs me towards the correct interpretation.
Now look what happens when we throw a pronoun into the list. Say we’re interested in the chocolate that belongs to Alice and me:
(*) Alice and my chocolate tastes awesome!
What happened? We can’t do that! We have to mark each element explicitly in the genitive:
Alice’s and my chocolate tastes awesome!
The reason I’ve noticed this is because I often make the first mistake — because that’s how it works in the general case, without pronouns — feel awkward midway through the sentence, then start again with the explicit distribution.
Thus it seems we have the following distributive rule:
Plus, as I say, the same applies to disjunction ().