Why should beneficiaries be subjects (or objects)?

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The present paper proposes a semantico-pragmatic representation of benefactive situations according to which beneficiaries are affected participants that are peripheral with respect to an overtly expressed causing subevent but core participants with respect to a covert resulting subevent. Such a view can be used to capture and further explore intralinguistic and crosslinguistic generalizations related to the fact that beneficiaries can be adjuncts, objects and even subjects in natural languages. Rather than postulating a particular theory of argument realization, this paper illustrates different syntactic realizations of beneficiaries and shows how they relate to the meaning of the construction.


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