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3.3.1.Dative/PP alternations (dative shift)

This section discusses several types of dative/PP alternations, that is, cases in which a dative noun phrase alternates with a PP with a similar semantic function. We will distinguish five different subcases depending on the semantic interpretation of the indirect object; the examples in (320) show that recipient objects alternate with aan-PPs, goal objects with naar-PPs, sources with PPs headed by van (although there are also cases with aan), possessor objects with bij-PPs, and benefactive objects with voor-PPs.

a. Marie heeft <Peter> een boek <aan Peter> gegeven.
  Marie has    Peter  a book    to Peter  given
b. Marie gooide <Peter> de bal <naar Peter> toe.
  Marie threw    Peter  the ball    to Peter  toe
c. Marie pakte <Peter> de bal <van Peter> af.
  Marie took      Peter  the ball   from Peter  prt.
d. Marie zette <Peter> de baby <bij Peter> op schoot.
  Marie put    Peter  the baby   with Peter  on the.lap
e. Marie schonk <Peter> een borrel <voor Peter> in.
  Marie poured    Peter  a drink    for Peter  prt.

So-called ethical datives like me in Hij dronk (me) een grote hoeveelheid bier'He drank beer in an astonishing quantity' are not discussed here given that they do not enter this type of alternation. They further differ from the dative phrases in (320) in that they (i) are normally a first, singular pronoun; (ii) provide some subjective evaluation of the speaker; and (iii) most importantly, can readily be combined with other types of dative phrases. Two examples of the latter property are given in (321a-b); see Bos (1972), who also notes that ethical datives differ from other dative phrases in that they cannot be used in nominalizations such as (321c). The primed examples further show that an ethical dative normally does not occur in sentence-initial position, regardless of whether it is phonetically reduced or not.

a. Hij geeft mij de kinderen te veel zakgeld.
  he  gives  me  the children  too much pocket.money
  'Heʼs giving the children too much pocket money in my view.'
a'. * Mij geeft hij de kinderen te veel zakgeld.
b. Hij gaf me Peter toch een klap op de schouder!
  he  gave  me  Peter prt  a blow  on the shoulder
  'He gave Peter an extremely hard blow on the shoulder.'
b'. * Me gaf hij Peter toch een klap op de schouder.
c. * [Me een grote hoeveelheid bier drinken] is ongezond.
  me  large quantity [of] beer  drink  is unhealthy

Since the PPs in (320) are often referred to as the periphrastic form of the nominal indirect object, we will make a terminological distinction between double object constructions, in which the relevant participant is syntactically expressed by means of a dative noun phrase, and periphrastic indirect object constructions, in which it is expressed by means of a PP. By adopting this terminology, we do not intend to commit ourselves to the claim that the periphrastic indirect objects are prepositional complements of the verb: we will see in fact that there are reasons for assuming that in many cases they function instead as complementives, that is, predicatively used spatial PPs. The following sections will discuss the distinguished subtypes of dative/PP alternation in the order given in (320).

  • Bos, G.F1972Het indirect objectLevende talen2847-18
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