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THEORY: Cases of Core Arguments in Clauses with Three Core Arguments

From:Tom Chappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Thursday, June 30, 2005, 23:46
Hello, everybody, I have more questions about tri-valent clauses.
This time, its about dative, benefactive/malefactive, and ablative cases.

Suppose the Pope pays Leonardo 100 ducats to paint a portrait of the Duchess for the Duke.

In most languages if you say
1) "The Pope paid Leonardo 100 ducats",
"Leonardo" would be in the dative case.

In a lot of languages, if you say
2) "Leonardo received 100 ducats from the Pope",
"from the Pope" would be in the ablative case.

But, in a lot of languages, "Leonardo" in sentence 1) would be in the same case as
"the Pope" in sentence 2). In these languages, this is a kind of
"dative-ablative" case.

(There is a difference between that kind of ablative and the "Leonardo came from
Florence, not from Milan" kind of ablative.)

Now consider the sentences
3) "The Pope paid Leonardo for the Duke."
4) "The Pope paid 100 ducats for the Duke."
5) "Leonardo painted a portrait for the Duke."

In a lot of languages, "for the Duke" in all of these sentences (3, 4, and 5)
would be in the benefactive case.

But, in a lot of languages, "the Duke" in sentences 3), 4), and 5) would be in the
same case as "Leonardo" in sentence 1). In these languages, this is a kind of
"dative-benefactive" case.

(I don't think the "malefactive" case is grammatically different from the
"benefactive" case; is it? Maybe someone knows of a counter-example.)


(i) Does anyone know of specific natural languages illustrating all of the above?
(ii) Does anyone know of a systematic treatment of the above phenomena?
(iii) Would anyone like to point out something related to these questions in one or
more conlangs they know about?


Once Leonardo finishes the painting, whose painting is it?
Is it the Pope's painting, because he paid for it, and it was painted at his behest?
Is it Leonardo's painting, because he created it?
Is it the Duchess's painting, because it is her likeness, and she sat for it?
Is it the Duke's painting, because it was done for his benefit, as a gift for him?
Is it all of the above?


Anyone who doesn't want to answer any of those questions, consider this one (not
original with me -- sorry, don't know who thought of it first)

If a house-fly should lose its wings, would we English-speakers have to call it a house-walk?


Thanks to anyone who answers.

Tom H.C. in MI

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