Monday, March 1, 2021

Dairwueh: The Recipient

There are restrictions in Dairwueh on when recipients or benefactives can be marked by the dative - whereas perceivers and experiencers can be marked by the dative nearly anytime.

The requirements for a recipient to be in the dative, rather than marked by the əre preposition, are as follows:

  • The verb either has a nominative subject or a pro-dropped subject.
  • If the subject is in the genitive (due to being the definite subject of a transitive verb), the verb must describe a concrete exchange of possession or control of the object. If it is in the nominative, no such restriction exists.

This restriction seems to come out of a conflict for control of the verb phrase by genitive subjects and dative recipients (see the first table here for reference), but this notion of control seems to be 'transferable' if there is a clear enough vector of transfer of the control of a third actant. In some speakers estimation, a dative is also acceptable if an instrumental is present.

With a few verbal constructions - causatives, for instance - the dative cannot mark recipients or benefactives for similar reasons: there is a subject that has too much control, and this subject does not cede the control to the recipient. Nominative subjects in such constructions belong in the +control +subject cell of the subjecthood-control scheme.

Another such restriction seems to be whenever a dropped, implicitly nominative subject is coordinated with a genitive subject - even if the verb is not transitive:

*man.gen lit a candle and sang her.dat
the man lit a candle and sang for her

It seems a coordinated genitive subject is enough to force the genitive-like requirements onto non-transitive verbs as well.

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