Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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The double-object construction has always been a controversial issue in linguistic theory. In Chinese we encounter an interesting and peculiar situation: both Mandarin and Cantonese have the dative construction with the indirect object (IO) introduced by a dative preposition (V + DO + Prep. + IO), but when the preposition is absent, the indirect object always precedes the direct object (DO)) in Mandarin (V + IO + DO), while the reverse order is predominant in Cantonese (V + DO + IO).What is the origin of the Cantonese form V + DO + IO? In many previous studies, V + DO + IO is said to come from V + IO + DO. In this paper we first show that neither synchronic nor diachronic evidence favors the Movement Hypothesis that V + DO + IO is derived from V + IO + DO. The former is not a free variant of the latter. We then argue, synchronically and diachronically, that V + DO + IO is derived from V + DO + Prep. + IO by Preposition Deletion. The two forms share the same constraints in relation to the semantic nature of the verbs and the focus information transmitted by the two objects (DO and IO).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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