Competing ‘transfer’ constructions in Dutch

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This paper zooms in on the semantic relations between the constructions of“possessional transfer” (i.e. constructions used to encode events of possessionaltransfer) in Dutch by zooming in on a specific morphological class of dispossessionverbs, viz. verbs with the prefix ont- ‘away’, such as ontnemen ‘take away’,ontfutselen ‘fish out of ’, onttrekken ‘extract, withdraw’, ontheffen ‘relieve’, etc. Adatabase with several thousand attested ont-examples from various corpora ofpresent-day written Dutch will serve as the starting point for an investigation oftheir constructional possibilities and preferences: the ont-verbs will be shownto cluster into a number of subclasses in terms of alternation possibilities. Inaddition, a comparison of these present-day Dutch results with data from adiachronic corpus of 19th century Dutch will reveal a number of lexico-grammaticalshifts: the use of the double object construction and (especially) of theaan-dative with ont-verbs is more heavily constrained now than it was in earlierstages of the language.


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