Beyond recipients: Towards a typology of dative uses
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This dissertation is a semantically oriented study of the functions of dative case, defined here as a dependent marking strategy that is the prototypical exponent of the recipient in a ‘give’ construction. The starting point is the observation that the languages of Eurasia, many of which have an identifiable dative case, show a typological split in the range of functions in which their datives can appear. Notably, the use of dative in external possessor constructions is attested for the European languages, but not for the Asian languages with a dative. The crucial semantic property of dative in European languages, here exemplified by German, is identified as indirect affectedness. This concept is elucidated in Chapter 2 and defined in force-dynamic terms. Chapter 3 studies the dative in German, with an emphasis on its ‘free’ (non-argument) uses, and shows that the various functions of this dative can be accounted for by force dynamics and its correlate, affective value. Chapter 4 deals specifically with the external possessor dative construction, which has often been claimed to be an exclusively European phenomenon. The chapter demonstrates that the use of recipient expressions to encode external possessors can be found all over the world, but the European construction is distinguished by being uniquely dependent-marking. Subsequently, Chapter 5 discusses the Asian type of dative, exemplified by Korean. It is shown that this dative has spatial functions and extends metaphorically to the force-dynamic domain; however, it marks force-dynamic effectors rather than affectees, as the European dative does. Chapter 6 discusses Estonian, a language without a dative case but with a spatial case (adessive) that has been claimed to fulfill many of the functions of a European indirect affectedness dative. This claim is refuted, showing that these uses are in fact spatial metaphors, while the European dative expresses indirect affectedness genuinely. The study reaches the conclusion that, while indirect affectedness is a notion that is expressed in many languages, only the European languages seem to have a dative case with indirect affectedness as its basic function. In the rest of Eurasia, it seems like dative (or more generally, recipient case) has a basic spatial meaning. This finding explains why external possessor dative constructions, which are here argued to be based on indirect affectedness, are not found in all languages with a dative case.