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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

5. The emergence of the dative alternation in Dutch: towards the establishment of a horizontal link

Timothy Colleman


Present-day Dutch displays a productive argument structure alternation between a double object construction with bare NP Theme and Recipient objects and a prepositional-dative in which the Recipient is marked by the preposition aan. The latter construction is the younger of the two: it is a post-Middle Dutch innovation, which became a well-established part of the grammar of Dutch in 17th century language only. The present chapter investigates the emergence of an embryonic dative alternation in the immediately preceding period, through a detailed investigation of the presence of aan-datives in three nonbelletristic texts from the latter half of the 16th century. It will be argued that the degree of semantic overlap between the DOC and the “new” aan-pattern increased through the combined effect of chains of local extensions in various sub-regions of “dative” semantic space.

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