Question about head-marked datives

Enrique L. Palancar epalancar at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 23 04:50:47 UTC 2007

Dear Colleages,
Lately, I have been wondering about head-marked datives. Chickasaw (also 
Choktaw) (Muskogean) has been described in Munro (1999) and Munro and Gordon 
(1982) to have a special set of dative pronominal affixes on the verb. The 
set appears to have emerged from the fusion of older object encoding 
pronominal prefixes with the dative applicative. These head-marked datives 
do in Chickasaw quite a lot of the same things that dative case does in 
other languages; besides, it also marks external possessor as in many 
European languages, and it also reminds one of the dative subjects in 
Icelandic/Old Norse and Dravidian lgs.
     Otomi (Otopamean; Otomanguean) is another family of Amerindian 
languages that has head-marked datives. The feature has always struck me as 
odd typologically, but it was never more than a gut-feeling. I wanted now to 
pursue a better perspective on the subject in order to understand it a 
little bit better, and I thought it’d be good to send the following question 
to the list:

Does anybody know of other languages with similar datives?

Needless to say, Spanish, along with other Romance lgs., could count as such 
one language if one takes dative verbal clitics as part of verbal 

Thank you very much for your help and for your knowledge,
Enrique Palancar

-Munro, Pamela. 1999. Chickasaw Subjecthood, in Doris L. Payne and Immanuel 
Barshi, External Possession, pp. 251-292. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John 
-Munro, Pamela and Lynn Gordon. 1982. Syntactic Relations in Western 
Muskogean: A Typological Perspective.  Language, 58:1, pp. 81-115.

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