• ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Three ditransitive constructions can be found in varieties of British English: (i) the ‘prepositional object construction’, where the recipient is encoded as a prepositional phrase (gave it to him); (ii) the ‘canonical double object construction’, where the recipient precedes the theme (gave him it); and (iii) the ‘alternative double object construction’, where the theme precedes the recipient (gave it him). The last of these constructions is typically found in (north)western varieties of British English when both objects are pronominal, and most of the relevant varieties have a ‘canonical’ ordering (REC > TH) when the theme is non-pronominal. Consequently, there seems to be an ‘inconsistency’ in the clause structure of the varieties in question. Using comparative and historical evidence, this article addresses the question of how this inconsistency can be explained. The ‘paradigmatic mismatch’ under discussion is shown to be a remnant of Old English clause structure which can also be observed in other verb second languages such as Modern German. It is argued to result from a tendency for both verb positions (finite/left and non-finite/right) to attract direct objects. This tendency is regarded as an effect of performance preferences in natural language discourse.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error