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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2010, Vol. 41, No. 2, Pages 287-305
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2010.41.2.287)
© 2010 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Double Object Constructions Disguised as Prepositional Datives
Article PDF (94.1 KB)
Abstract

Recent work by Bresnan and colleagues (Bresnan 2007, Bresnan et al. 2007, Bresnan and Nikitina 2007) has argued that double object and prepositional dative constructions are essentially identical, the choice between them being conditioned by various factors. I argue against this conclusion, showing that the grammar clearly distinguishes double object from prepositional dative constructions. Under certain circumstances, the first object of a double object construction can shift to the right, with the preposition to appearing, but the grammar still distinguishes this from a prepositional dative construction that looks identical on the surface. The phenomena that I investigate are scope interactions with quantifiers and locative inversion. In addition, the rightward reordering operations investigated here indicate that constraints on variable binding, including weak crossover, must be formulated in terms of linear order rather than hierarchy.