Meaning construction and motivation in the English benefactive double object construction
Verbal and constructional semantics at work
This paper explores the interaction between verbal and constructional semantics in the benefactive double object construction in English. My main aim is to disentangle the semantics of the construction exploring the constructional potential of the main alternating verb classes, i.e., verbs of “obtaining”, “creation” and “preparing” (Levin, 1993), and spelling out the cognitive principles that motivate these and other extended uses as cases of lexical-constructional subsumption within the framework of the Lexical Constructional Model (cf. Galera Masegosa & Ruiz de Mendoza, 2012; Ruiz de Mendoza, 2013). Rather than advocating a polysemous analysis of the ditransitive, as proposed by Goldberg (1992, 1995), the position I take here is that ditransitives with beneficiary arguments and ditransitives with prototypical recipient arguments instantiate two different subconstructions which cannot be treated under the same general rubric, in spite of their “shared surface form” (Goldberg, 2002, p. 330).
Keywords: benefactive construction, ditransitive, beneficiary, Lexical Constructional Model, recipient, subsumption
Published online: 17 August 2020
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Ruiz de Mendoza, F. J. & Mairal Usón, R.