argument structure of k'u 'give'

ROOD DAVID S rood at spot.Colorado.EDU
Wed Nov 17 22:38:19 UTC 2004

	thanks for the clarification; you're right about "benefactive"
being a very well developed category in Lak; my annoyance with the usual
analogy to IE datives stems from much more than the Lakhota examples.
	I must admit to astonishment at your wicha-ma-k'u-pi 'I was given
to them'.  I have never been able to elicit three overtly marked arguments
on that verb in all my years of trying.  I don't know what to make of it.
Could it also mean 'they were given to me'?  The only form I ever got for
that was mak'upi, with no registration of the 'they', or perhaps hena cha
mak'upi (but that's ambiguous as to whether the hena is subject or not).
	How does iyuNga 'to ask someone something' work?  I don't think
the 'something' can ever be animate, so it would never be marked on the
verb anyway.


David S. Rood
Dept. of Linguistics
Univ. of Colorado
295 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0295
rood at

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004, REGINA PUSTET wrote:

> [David]
> > Regina has expressed surprise (see below) that the verb k'u 'give' does
> > not take benefactive morphology to mark the benefactive argument.  It
> > has long been a pet peeve of mine that we impose our Indo-European category
> > descriptions on other languages, and the whole elaborate discussion of
> > "secondary object languages" in the theoretical literature rests on
> > exactly that kind of imposition.
> My surprise in this case does not stem from the Indo-European category glasses that I might be wearing, but rather from what Lakota itself does in terms of categorization. The fact that Lakota has separate benefactive/possessive person markers can be taken to indicate that the language has a distinct notion of benefactivity. And any (?) other Lakota verb that expresses benefactivity does so by means of those benefactive/possessive paradigms, k'u 'give' being the only exception that I'm aware of with certainty right now. Another possible exception might be wiyopheya 'sell' though. So what puzzled me is that if Lakota conceptualizes ditransitive verbs the same way as English in all but one or maybe a few cases, in using patient markers for (English) patients and benefactive markers for (English) benefactives, why not k'u 'give -- the most prototypical of ditransitive verbs, semantically speaking -- as well? It's the lack of analogy with the rest of the system that's the real
>  eye-catcher.
> > Lakhota is not terribly unusual among
> > the world's languages in treating the recipient of the 'give' action as
> > the real direct object, and the other participant as simply an adjunct,
> > unregistered in the verb.
> I don't think that that's correct. I found the following example in my text collection:
> wichá-ma-k’u-pi
> 'I was given to them (i.e. to the family in marriage)'
> Both patient and benefactive appear as person affixes here. Wicha- is the benefactive, ma- is the patient. k'u 'give' is simply unusual in that it takes double patient markers, even though one of the patient markers must be interpreted as a benefactive. Or maybe, as David says, if the recipient is really conceptualized as another direct object, we have two direct objects here.
> Regina
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