A Lexical-Functional Account of Spanish Dative Usage

  • Raúl Aranovich
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 40)


This paper explores the interaction between Dative Clitic Doubling (DClD) in Spanish ditransitives and some semantic and syntactic factors. Usage data give statistically significant evidence that a goal is more likely to be doubled when definite or when it precedes the theme. These facts are accounted for under the hypothesis that goals alternate between an oblique function and an object function, and that dative clitics double goals only in the latter case. DClD, then, is seen as the Spanish equivalent of the English dative alternation. Ditransitives like dar ‘give’ and its English translation are analyzed as cloaked causatives, casting the dative alternation is a special case of the alternation between direct and indirect causatives. Some non-trivial differences between English and Spanish in the realization of the goal are pointed out, and are made to follow from a more general typological contrast between accusative languages and primary object languages in their treatment of causatives. The analysis is framed in the formalism of Lexical-Functional Grammar.


Word Order Dative Alternation Principal Object Argument Structure Internal Argument 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The ideas in this paper have been presented at several meetings and ­seminars. I have benefited greatly from the discussions that took place during and after those occasions. I am indebted to the participants in the 2007 Encuentro de gramática generativa in Mendoza, Argentina, the Workshop on Case, Word Order and Prominence in Argument Structure, held at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the 2008 LSA Annual Meeting in Chicago, and the Berkeley syntax seminar. All shortcomings are my own responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linguistics DepartmentUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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