Ditransitive constructions: Towards a new Role and Reference Grammar account?

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This paper reviews some of basic argument marking properties of ditransitive constructions and asks how various syntactic frameworks deal with them. In particular, I critically examine two accounts within Role and Reference Grammar (RRG). I lay out a basic typology of three alignment types: indirective alignment, neutral alignment, and secundative alignment. Since the latter is not common in the most widely studied languages, theoretical frameworks have typically had problems with it, including the earlier account within RRG. I argue that the three ditransitive alignment types are parallel to the three monotransitive alignment types (accusative, neutral, ergative), and that it is worth exploring an alternative RRG account that operates with two additional macroroles, R and T, which function much like A and U. In this paper, I will examine the treatment of ditransitive constructions in Role and Reference Grammar and compare it to the perspective on ditransitives that I have developed in earlier work (Haspelmath 2005a, 2007a), as well as to some other formal grammatical frameworks. I will conclude by proposing a fairly radical revision of the standard treatment of ditransitive constructions in rrg (Guerrero & Van Valin 2004; Van Valin 2007).


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