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Abstract

Abstract

This paper reports on a corpus study of two ditransitive constructions in Enets (Uralic, Samoyedic): the standard ditransitive construction and the so-called Destinative construction involving a specific destinative nominal morpheme. We suggest that the mutual distribution of the two competing constructions depends on referential properties of theme and information structure of the clause. The Destinative construction is used when a theme is indefinite, the standard ditransitive construction is used when a theme is definite. Most often, definiteness of a theme is also accompanied by specificity of a recipient; the combination of an indefinite theme and a non-specific recipient has not been attested at all. There is also a small number of cases when the standard ditransitive construction is used in clauses with an indefinite theme: in all such cases recipients are non-standard from the information structure point of view, they are either topical, emphatic, or extraposed. We suggest that both contexts of usage of the standard ditransitive construction can be explained if we describe its main discourse function as highlighting the known referents in discourse, be it definite themes or topical, emphatic, or extraposed recipients. The main discourse function of the destinative construction is then introducing new referents in the theme position.

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/content/journals/10.1075/fol.17061.kha
2020-07-06
2020-08-07
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