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The Emergence of Functions in Language$
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Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Marielle Butters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844297.001.0001

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The emergence of benefactive function in English

The emergence of benefactive function in English

(p.107) 5 The emergence of benefactive function in English
The Emergence of Functions in Language

Zygmunt Frajzyngier

Marielle Butters

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 describes the emergence of benefactive function from the initial state that had emerged after the loss of the indirect object function in English. Old English used to have a dative case whose function was to code indirectly affected argument, whether positively, adversely, or in any other way – features of dative case that are still present in some IE languages. The linear order of constructions with the dative marked argument was mainly Verb- NP (dative) NP (accusative). Once the case marking in English collapsed as a result of phonological changes, the linear order V NP NP came to code benefactive function. The emergence of benefactive function in turn created a new initial state from which a malefactive function coded by the preposition ‘on’ began to emerge.

Keywords:   benefactive, malefactive, indirect object, ditransitive, dative, case, linear order

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