Primary object languages & pronouns

Matthew Dryer dryer at BUFFALO.EDU
Wed Apr 23 18:35:19 UTC 2003

In answer to David Tuggy's question, I would at the very least deny that
they are related in the way that I proposed in my 1986 paper, by an
antidative rule by which the construction in "I gave the book to Mary" is
derived from "I gave Mary the book" by a rule which promotes the secondary
object to primary object and demotes the primary object to chomeur.  I am
skeptical that speakers are aware, consciously or unconsciously, of a
systematic relationship between the two syntactic frames in English, but if
they are, the awareness is akin to awareness of other nonproductive
patterns, and unlike the awareness of more productive relationships.

Matthew Dryer

--On Wednesday, April 23, 2003 12:19 PM -0600 David Tuggy
<david_tuggy at> wrote:

> Not sure what you mean, Matthew, by "not related by rule". Do you mean
> "the relation between them is not an absolutely predictive one" or "there
> is no relationship between them", or something else?
> I would prefer to see them as "alternative syntactic frames" as you do,
> but not deny that speakers are aware of (consciously or at some
> non-conscious cognitive level) systematic correlations between them.
> I'm not sure you're denying such sytematic cognitive correlation--that's
> what I'm trying to clarify.
> --David Tuggy

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