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Academic Paper


Title: Give it me!: pronominal ditransitives in English dialects
Author: Johanna Gerwin
Institution: Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Constructions involving a ditransitive verb, a direct theme object, and an indirect recipient object have been extensively studied – especially in the contexts of the ‘dative’ and the ‘benefactive alternations’, i.e. the alternations between a double-object construction (DOC) (e.g. She gave him a book) and a corresponding prepositional construction (PREP) either with to (e.g. She gave a book to him) or with for (e.g. She bought a book for him). The present study focuses on a ditransitive phenomenon which occurs in British dialects: when both objects are pronouns, three variants of encoding are possible: DOC (e.g. Give me it!), PREP (e.g. Give it to me!) and the alternative double-object construction (altDOC) (e.g. Give it me!). The regional distribution and diachronic development of the three constructions are traced using two corpora containing regional speech: the Freiburg English Dialect Corpus (FRED) and the online version of the British National Corpus (BNCweb). In concentrating on a dialect phenomenon, in taking language-external determinants of the ‘dative/benefactive alternation’ into consideration, and in investigating these empirically, the present study takes a novel approach to the much-discussed topic of ditransitives in English.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 17, Issue 3.

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