Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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The aim of this paper is to propose a unified account of dative assignment for both verbs and adjectives in French. We will show that both types of predicates assign dative case to their second internal argument, provided that this argument is situated in a higher position in the thematic hierarchy than the first internal argument. This hypothesis, which considers the dative in French as a structural rather than a semantic case, can easily account for all three-argument verbs, for most two-argument verbs and even for adjunct datives. As for the adjectival predicates, we will show that only ergative adjectives, whose first argument is an internal argument, can assign dative to their second internal argument. The few exceptions to this hypothesis can be explained by the fact that, although the dative is not a semantic case, it is associated with certain semantic roles, given that its semantic role is situated in the thematic hierarchy between the role of the external argument and the role of the first internal argument.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): adjective; dative case; ergativity; syntax; thematic role; verb
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