Ditransitive constructions are syntactic constructions with three arguments, an agent (A), a theme (T), and a recipient (R), which express an event of possessive transfer (‘give,’ ‘lend,’ etc.) or an event of cognitive transfer (‘tell,’ ‘show,’ etc.). Their cross-linguistic study has revealed three major alignment types: indirective alignment (with the R treated in a special way, distinct from monotransitive P), secundative alignment (with the T treated in a special way), and neutral alignment (or double-object construction). Alignments may be construction specific, that is, different in argument coding and behavioral properties. Languages sometimes exhibit alignment alternations (multiple constructions with roughly the same meaning), and they often exhibit alignment splits (different constructions under different conditions). The splits are always based on the referential prominence of the R and the T, and show more explicit formal coding for less expected scenarios. Constituent order is also typically sensitive to the topic-worthiness of the objects. Object–object primacy is often based on linear order, but may also be determined by topic-worthiness, with the R having primacy over the T. Ditransitive verbs expressing ‘give’ show a stronger tendency for neutral alignment than do others with a more spatial meaning such as ‘bring’ or ‘send.’

[Erratum, Closure]

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Ditransitive Constructions

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