On the Double Object Construction and the Oblique Construction in Cantonese
The double-object construction has always been a controversial issue in linguistic theory. In Chinese we encounter an interesting and peculiar situation: both Mandarin and Cantonese have the dative construction with the indirect object (IO) introduced by a dative preposition (V + DO + Prep. + IO), but when the preposition is absent, the indirect object always precedes the direct object (DO)) in Mandarin (V + IO + DO), while the reverse order is predominant in Cantonese (V + DO + IO). What is the origin of the Cantonese form V + DO + IO? In many previous studies, V + DO + IO is said to come from V + IO + DO. In this paper we first show that neither synchronic nor diachronic evidence favors the Movement Hypothesis that V + DO + IO is derived from V + IO + DO. The former is not a free variant of the latter. We then argue, synchronically and diachronically, that V + DO + IO is derived from V + DO + Prep. + IO by Preposition Deletion. The two forms share the same constraints in relation to the semantic nature of the verbs and the focus information transmitted by the two objects (DO and IO).
Published online: 01 January 1997
Cited by 3 other publications
Li, Xuping & Yicheng Wu
Szeto, Pui Yiu, Umberto Ansaldo & Stephen Matthews
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