Give/take, help needed

Seppo Kittilä sepkit at UTU.FI
Mon Aug 26 05:30:09 UTC 2002

(Apologies for any cross-postings)

Dear typologists,

I would be interested in taking a closer look on how the semantics of
ditransitives is reflected in their linguistic marking. In order to be
able to do this, I sorely need assistance. My study will be focussing
especially on differences between 'give', 'take' and 'buy'.
Additionally, benefactives are also of interest. In my opinion the
status of the recipient/malefactive argument differs in these cases and
I would like to study how this is reflected in morpho-syntax. For my
purposes the following sentences are of interest:

1. The man/he gave a/the book to the woman/her
2. The man/he gave a/the woman/her a book
3. The man took a/the book from the woman
4. ?the man took her a/the book
5. The man/he bought a/the book for the woman/her
6. The man/he bought the woman/her a/the book
7. The man/he bought a/the book from the woman/her
8. He did it for her
9. ?He did her it

What I am interested in here is the case marking of argument and the
verbal cross-reference. Definiteness of the theme is of interest only in
case it is reflected somehow in argument marking or cross-reference of
the verb. I would be very grateful to anyone who could be so kind to
translate the clauses above into languages one knows. Clauses 4 and 9
seem ungrammatical to me, but are there languages in which they are
perfectly normal (i.e. is there any kind of dative shift (or an equivalence)
in these cases)? I will be happy to inform you of the results of my
study in due course.

Best wishes,

Seppo Kittilä

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