Ditransitives again, was Re: Vjatjackwa (the result of all those sound changes!)
|From:||Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, December 20, 2003, 2:40|
In a message dated 12/19/2003 1:04:11 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>>What was in that they were saying about African languages with two
>>objects a couple of weeks ago? Those verbs worked differently than
>Somehow, I don't remember even seeing the discussion, which is odd, because
>I usually try to at least skim everything on the list, unless I absolutely
>know that it is simply not of interest to me or too complicated to
>follow. Do you remember anything about it that would allow me to search
>the archives for it?
I believe that the message attached below was my contribution to the thread
you're thinking of:
Subj: Re: More questions
Date: 11/26/2003 4:19:06 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Amateur Linguist
In a message dated 11/26/2003 1:53:42 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>> I can understand DO/O as meaning Direct and Indirect objects, but what
>> does PO/SO stand for?
>Primary Object and Secondary Object.
>Some languages (mainly from Africa?) treat Indirect Objects the same as
>Objects of single-object sentences (Primary Object), and Direct Objects of
>two-object sentences have their own method of being marked (Secondary
One might argue that English has Primary vs. Secondary objects, and that the
DO/IO way of looking at objects is just a Latin-derived tradition upheld by
1. They gave me a book.
2. I was given a book.
3. ?A book was given me.
When you make a ditranstive Engish sentience into a passive, it's perfectly
natural for the "Indirect object" to become the subject [as in 2] (just as the
single object of a monotransitive sentence becomes the subject) but distinctly
odd (at least in my dialect) for the "direct object" to become the subject
[as in 3].
I seem to recall reading somewhere that the general rule cross-linguistically
is that if there's a distinct dative case for recipients etc. (as in e.g.
Latin), then the DO of the ditransitive is generally treated like the object of a
monotransitive, but if there is no such case (as in English), then it's the
recipient ("indirect object") that is generally treated like the object of a