Passivization possibilities in double-accusative constructions

Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, Gabriele Diewald


Based on a diachronic corpus search, this paper proposes that dative rather than accusative-marking on the first object of German double-accusative verbs like lehren 'teach' (as also discussed in Lang 2007) and the corresponding passivization possibilities stem from the first object being interpreted as Recipient (sympathy-invoking co-participant, see Lehmann et al. 2004) rather than animate Patient and the second object being interpreted as inanimate Patient rather than adverbial accusative. In addition, a formal case-based account of German active and passive (di)transitive constructions is offered, making a three-way distinction between (i) structural, (ii) predictable inherent, and (iii) idiosyncratic lexical case (in line with Woolford 2006).


double-accusative verbs; passivization; dative case; kriegen/bekommen (‘get’) passive; diachronic corpus study; double-object construction; verbal argument structure; structural case; inherent case; lexical case

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Copyright (c) 2017 Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, Gabriele Diewald

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