Journal article Open Access

Ditransitive alignment splits and inverse alignment

Haspelmath, Martin

This paper argues that language-particular restrictions on ditransitive construc- tions are best understood as instantiations of easily falsifiable implicational universals that can be explained functionally, rather than as falling out from a restrictive formal metalanguage. Well-known restrictions on ditransitives in English (*She gave Kim it) and French (*Elle donna Kim le livre) are shown to be instantiations of inverse patterns that are completely parallel to inverse pat- terns in monotransitive constructions. Moreover, ditransitive constructions are parallel to monotransitives in that they exhibit differential recipient marking and differential theme marking, analogous to differential object and subject marking.

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