The derivation of dative alternations

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This paper argues for an updated version of the classical derivational approach to Double Object Constructions and dative constructions across languages. We show that the arguments to postulate a non-derivational approach do not hold and that, in fact, such an approach runs into unsolvable problems. We argue that the structural alternation is triggered by Preposition (applicative) incorporation and Case/Agreement-relational considerations. We maintain a unified analysis of dative and PP constructions at the level of argument structure, while deriving the structural differences as a consequence of the incorporation of P and its modification of the Case requirements. Combined with a non-symmetric theory of Case, this approach yields the right results for most of the “mixed” properties traditionally associated to dative constructions.


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