Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



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.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Castrén, M. Alexander
    1854Grammatik der samojedischen Sprachen. St. Petersburg: Buchdruckerei der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Conti, Carmen
    2008Receptores y beneficiarios: Estudio tipológico de la ditransitividad. München: Lincom Europa.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Creissels, Denis
    1979Les constructions dites “possessives”: Etude de linguistique générale et de typologie linguistique. Paris: Université Paris 4.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Creissels, Denis & Michael Daniel
    2006Monotransitivity in ‘give’-constructions: Exploring the periphery of ditransitives. Paper presented at the‘Rara and Rarissima’ Conference in Leipzig.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Du Bois, John W.
    1987 The discourse basis of ergativity. Language63. 805–855. 10.2307/415719
    https://doi.org/10.2307/415719 [Google Scholar]
  6. Du Bois, John W. , Lorraine E. Kumpf & William J. Ashby
    2003Preferred argument structure: Grammar as architecture for function (Studies in discourse and grammar 14). Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/sidag.14
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sidag.14 [Google Scholar]
  7. Enç, Mürvet
    1991 The semantics of specificity. Linguistic Inquiry22(1). 1–25.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Gerland, Doris
    2014 Definitely not possessed? Possessive suffixes with definiteness marking Function. In Thomas Gamerschlag , Doris Gerland , Rainer Osswald & Wiebke Petersen (eds.), Frames and concept types: Applications in language and philosophy (Studies in linguistics and philosophy 94), 269–292. New York, NY: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑01541‑5_12
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01541-5_12 [Google Scholar]
  9. Givón, Talmy
    1984Syntax: A functional-typological introduction, Vol.1. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/z.17
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.17 [Google Scholar]
  10. Haspelmath, Martin
    2015 Ditransitive constructions. Annual Review of Linguistics1. 19–41. 10.1146/annurev‑linguist‑030514‑125204
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-linguist-030514-125204 [Google Scholar]
  11. Helimski, Eugen A.
    1994 Očerk morfonologii i slovoizmenitel’noj morfologii nganasanskogo jazyka [A sketch of Nganasan morphophonology and inflectional morphology]. In Eugen A. Helimski (ed.), Tajmyrskij ètnolingvističeskij sbornik [Tajmyr ethnolinguistic paper collection], Vol.1: Materialy po nganasanskomu šamanstvu i jazyku [Data on Nganasan shamanism and language], 190–221. Moscow: Russian State University for Humanities.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Helimski, Eugen
    1998 Nganasan. In Daniel Abondolo (ed.), The Uralic languages, 480–515. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. . Manuscript. Materialy k slovarju èneckogo jazyka [Materials for an Enets dictionary]. Available online atwww.uni-hamburg.de/ifuu/Arbeiten_/Helimski-Enzisch.zip
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Iraide
    2004 Polysemy in Basque locational cases. Belgian Journal of Linguistics18. 271–298. 10.1075/bjl.18.14iba
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bjl.18.14iba [Google Scholar]
  15. Ioup, Georgette
    1977 Specificity and the interpretation of quantifiers. Linguistics and Philosophy1. 233–245.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Janhunen, Juha
    1989 Samojedin predestinatiivisen deklinaation alkuperästä. Suomalais Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja82. 298–201.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Kazama, Shinjiro
    2012 Designative case in Tungusic languages. In Andrej L. Malchukov & Lindsay J. Whaley (eds.), Recent advances in Tungusic linguistics, 123–154. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Khanina, Olesya & Andrey Shluinsky
    2013 Jadernye padeži suščestvitel’nyx v èneckom jazyke: V poiskax adekvatnogo opisanija [Core cases in Enets: a search for an appropriate description]. In Tatiana Agranat , Olga Kazakevič & Egor Kashkin (eds.), Lingvističeskij bespredel 2. Festschrift for Ariadna Kuznecova, 76–94. Moscow: Izdatel̘’stvo Moskovskogo universiteta.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. 2014 A rare type of benefactive construction: Evidence from Enets. Linguistics52(6). 1391–1431. doi: 10.1515/ling‑2014‑0025
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2014-0025 [Google Scholar]
  20. 2015 Prjamoj ob”ekt v èneckom jazyke: Ob”ektnoe soglasovanie glagola [Direct object in Enets: Object cross-reference on a verb]. In Ekaterina Lyutikova , Anton Zimmerling & Maria Konoshenko (eds.), Tipologija morfosintaksičeskix parametrov, Vyp. 2 [Typology of morphosyntactic parameters, Vol. 2], 392–410. Moscow: MPGU.
  21. 2017Enets object cross-reference: Syntactic marking of information structure. Paper presented atSyntax of Uralic languages (SOUL) 2017, Budapest, June 27–28.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Künnap, Ago Ju.
    1974Sklonenie i sprjaženie v samodijskix jazykax [Declension and conjugation in Samoyedic languages]. Tartu: University of Tartu Habilitation thesis.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Künnap, Ago
    2004 About the non-personal definite function of the Uralic 3rd person possessive suffix. Linguistica Uralica40(1). 1–4.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Lambrecht, Knud
    1994Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus, and the mental representation of discourse referents. Cambridge: CUP. 10.1017/CBO9780511620607
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620607 [Google Scholar]
  25. Leisiö, Larisa
    2014 Imennye kategorii vremeni v nganasanskom i drugix severnosamodijskix jazykax [The categories of nominal tense in Nganasan and other Northern Samoyedic languages]. Voprosy jazykoznanija1. 39–59.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Malchukov, Andrej
    2018 Typological remarks on “internal” beneficiaries and the benefactive-possessive convergence. In Agnes Korn & Andrej Malchukov (eds.), Ditransitive constructions in a typological perspective, 13–25. Wiesbaden: Reichert.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Malchukov, Andrej , Martin Haspelmath & Bernard Comrie
    2010 Ditransitive constructions: A typological overview. In Andrej Malchukov , Martin Haspelmath & Bernard Comrie (eds.), Studies in ditransitive constructions, 1–64. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110220377.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110220377.1 [Google Scholar]
  28. Margetts, Anna & Peter Austin
    2007 Three-participant events in the languages of the world: Towards a crosslinguistic typology. Linguistics45(3). 393–451. 10.1515/LING.2007.014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2007.014 [Google Scholar]
  29. Mikola, Tibor
    2004Studien zur Geschichte der samojedischen Sprachen. Szeged: SzTE Finnisch-Ugrisches Institut.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Nedjalkov, Vladimir P. & Galina A. Otaina
    2013A syntax of the Nivkh language: The Amur dialect. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.139
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.139 [Google Scholar]
  31. Nikolaeva, Irina
    2003 Possessive affixes as markers of information structuring: Evidence from Uralic. In Pirkko Suihkonen & Bernard Comrie (eds.), International symposium on deictic systems and quantification in languages spoken in Europe and North and Central Asia, 130–145. Iževsk & Leipzig: Udmurt State University; Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. 2009 Nominal tense in Tundra Nenets and Northern Samoyedic. In Peter Austin , Oliver Bond , Monik Charette , David Nathan & Peter Sells (eds.), Proceedings of the conference on language documentation and linguistic theory2, 241–250. SOAS: Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project and Department of Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. 2014A grammar of Tundra Nenets. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110320640
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110320640 [Google Scholar]
  34. 2015 On the expression of TAM on nouns: Evidence from Tundra Nenets. Lingua166. 99–126. 10.1016/j.lingua.2015.08.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2015.08.006 [Google Scholar]
  35. Schröder, Christoph
    2006 Articles and article systems in some areas of Europe. In Guiliano Bernini & Marcia Schwartz (eds.), Pragmatic organization of discourse in the languages of Europe, 545–615. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110892222.545
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110892222.545 [Google Scholar]
  36. Siegl, Florian
    2013Materials on Forest Enets, an indigenous language of Northern Siberia. Helsinki: Société Finno-Ougrienne.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. 2015 The structure of noun phrases with referential PX.2P in Northern Samoyedic. Tomsk Journal for Linguistics and Anthropology1(7). 21–31.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Sorokina, Irina P.
    2010Èneckij jazyk [Enets]. St. Petersburg: Nauka.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Sorokina, Irina P. & Dar’ja S. Bolina
    2005Èneckie teksty [Enets texts]. St. Petersburg: Nauka.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Tereščenko, Natal’ja M.
    1966 Èneckij jazyk [Enets]. In Vasilij E. Lytkin & Klara E. Majtinskaja (eds.), Jazyki narodov SSSR: Finno-ugorskie i samodijskie yazyki [Languages of the USSR: Fenno-Ugric and Samoyedic languages], 438–457. Moscow: Nauka.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. 1977 K genezisu lično-prednaznačitel’nyx (deziderativnyx) form severnosamodijskix jazykov [On the genesis of the destinative (desiderative) forms of the Northern Samoyedic languages]. Fenno-Ugristica4. 95–105.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media 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