Source = beneficiary

Seppo Kittilä sepkit at UTU.FI
Mon Sep 19 06:36:28 UTC 2005

Dear Typologists,

I am looking for languages in which any kind of source element (such as ablative case/adposition) would be used to code benefiaries as well. Finnish is a language in which this occurs, as the following examples show (N.B.: the ablative is only one way of coding beneficiary in Finnish, and its use is not possible for this function in all cases, but in (1) and (2) it is the most natural way of coding beneficiary):

(1)     vanhempi        pes-i                       lapse-lta     käde-t
          parent.NOM    wash-3SG.PAST   child-ABL   hand-PL
         'A/the parent washed the child's hands (for the child)'
(2)    hoitaja          vaihto-i                       vanhukse-lta          lakana-t
         nurse.NOM  change-3SG.PAST  older.person-ABL sheet-PL
         'A/the nurse changed the sheets for the older person'

I have been studying beneficiaries, recipients and sources from a cross-linguistic perspective, but I have not come across another language in which cases like (1) and (2) would be possible. There are languages in which dative (or a similar case) can be used to encode recipients, sources and beneficiaries, but are there languages in which source and beneficiary (excluding recipient) receive the same formal treatment? I would be extremely grateful for any help.

All the best,

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