A Comparative Study of Double-Object Constructions in English and Thai: the Minimalist Program and Construction Grammar

Timyam, Napasri
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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
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This paper studies the double-object construction in English and Thai within the frameworks of the Minimalist Program and Construction Grammar. It aims to examine the cross-linguistic properties of this construction to see if these properties can answer the controversial question of why only a small group of verbs can occur in double-object patterns. The results of the comparative study lead to two major conclusions. First, they reveal that the double-object construction, involving three NP arguments, is associated with a set of closely related senses of transfer. Such a semantic constraint and a syntactic property of the construction, i.e., the interaction between roles, account for its restricted occurrence. That is, the distribution of this linguistic structure is motivated by the meaning of the construction and the fusion of the construction’s argument roles and the verb’s participant roles. Second, the results of the study show that a linguistic theory that aims to explain this argument structure should include syntax, semantics, and distribution in its scope of analysis. According to this criterion, CG gives a better account of the construction. By associating each argument structure with a particular semantic core, CG can provide answers to the questions about the shared syntactic and semantic properties of the double- object pattern and the cross-linguistic effect these properties have on the distribution of the construction. 
Timyam, Napasri. 2003. A Comparative Study of Double-Object Constructions in English and Thai: the Minimalist Program and Construction Grammar. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 34(4).
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