Benefactives and Malefactives

Typological perspectives and case studies

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  • Editors: Fernando Zúñiga1, and Seppo Kittilä2
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Year: 2010
  • e-Book ISBN 9789027288318

Benefactives are constructions used to express that a state of affairs holds to someone’s advantage. The same construction sometimes also serves as a malefactive, whose meanings are generally not a simple mirror image of the benefactive. Benefactive constructions cover a wide range of phenomena: malefactive passives, general and specialized benefactive cases and adpositions, serial verb constructions and converbal constructions (including e.g. verbs of giving and taking), benefactive applicatives, and other morphosyntactic strategies. The present book is the first collection of its kind to be published on this topic. It includes both typological surveys and in-depth descriptive studies, exploring both the morphosyntactic properties and the semantic nuances of phenomena ranging from the familiar English double-object construction and the Japanese adversative passive to comparable phenomena found in lesser-known languages of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The book will appeal to typologists and linguists interested in linguistic diversity and it will also be a useful reference work for linguists working on language description.

Subjects: Syntax; Semantics; Theoretical linguistics; Typology

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Zurich; 2: University of Helsinki

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