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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

8. The diachrony of ditransitives in Vedic Sanskrit

Eystein Dahl

Abstract

This chapter explores the diachronic behavior of ditransitive predicates in Vedic Sanskrit, the language of the so-called Vedas and their ancillary texts, the Brāhmaṇas. Vedic Sanskrit has a relatively consistent nominative-accusative alignment system, allowing for a broad range of object (P) alternation patterns but being more restrictive as regards subject (A/S) realization (cf. e.g. Dahl 2009, 2014a, 2014b, 2019). Ditransitive predicates show three morphosyntactically distinct argument realization patterns. Certain verbs have an indirective pattern, where P selects accusative case and R dative case, a secundative pattern, where P has locative case marking and R accusative, and a neutral pattern, where both P and R receive accusative case marking. Among these, the indirective pattern is predominant, because it attracts a larger number of verbs than the other two patterns. Diachronically, ditransitive predicates remain stable in their argument realization options throughout the history of Vedic Sanskrit. This fact may suggest that lexical semantic factors play a more important role than general linking rules in argument realization in Vedic Sanskrit, at least as regards ditransitive constructions.

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