[LaGraM] Nora Boneh (HUJI)

Datives possessors and dative (bene)ficiaries
Lundi 4 Juin 2018 - 14:00 à 16:30
Lieu détaillé: 

salle 159


Datives possessors and dative (bene)ficiaries

Nora Boneh (HUJI)

Dative marked DPs referring to animates are often identified with marking possessors (e.g. Haspelmath 2003, Levin 2008). The paper sets out to explore the sources for the possessive interpretation associated with datives in ditransitive constructions featuring both core and non-core argument in several languages (Hebrew, Arabic, French, Russian and English).

Whereas syntactically there have been shown to be two main underlying structures for ditransitives: one where the dative is c-commanded by the direct object, which is prepositional-like, the other where the dative c-commands the direct object (Larson 1988, Bruening 2010 among many others. See also Pylkkänen 2008 for different height for non-core datives), in this talk it will be demonstrated how both underlying structures make available possessive interpretations (cf. Boneh & Sichel 2010). The syntactic analysis coupled with interpretative considerations pertaining to the lexical semantic properties of the verb and pragmatic factors will allow to shed light on the question why possessors are marked similarly to recipients and bene-/maleficiaries, blurring at times the difference between them (cf. Boneh & Nash 2017).

The outcome of this small scale cross-linguistic exploration will be to refine the role of height of attachment of the dative argument and the nature of the interaction between the dative argument the other lexical material in the VP conspiring to enable possessive interpretation for dative DPs. Consequently, the proposed account will question the independent availability of the category labeled "possessor dative" derived by possessor raising, for some of the languages under consideration (e.g. Landau 1999, cf. Al-Zahre 2003, Deal 2013).


  • Al-Zahre, Nisrine. 2003. La structure du groupe verbal en Arabe: Trois arguments empiriques en faveur d’une vision syntaxique de la structure argumentale. PhD Dissertation, Université Paris 8.
  • Boneh, Nora & Léa Nash. 2017. The syntax and semantics of dative DPs in Russian ditransitives. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 35:899–953.
  • Boneh, Nora & Ivy Sichel. 2010. Deconstructing possession. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 28:1-40.
  • Bruening, Benjamin. 2010. Ditransitive Asymmetries and a Theory of Idiom Formation Linguistic Inquiry 41:519-562.
  • Deal, Amy Rose. 2013. Possessor raising. Linguistic Inquiry 44:391-432.
  • Haspelmath, Martin. 2003. The geometry of grammatical meaning: semantic maps and crosslinguistic comparison In M. Tomasello (ed.), The new psychology of language, vol. 2, New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 211-43.
  • Landau, Idan. 1999. Possessor raising and the structure of VP. Lingua 107: 811-877.
  • Larson, Richard, K. 1988. On the double object construction. Linguistic Inquiry 19:335–392.
  • Levin, Beth. 2008. Dative Verbs: A Crosslinguistic Perspective, Lingvisticæ Investigationes 31: 285-312.
  • Pylkkänen, Liina. 2008. Introducing Arguments. MIT Press Cambridge.