Pronominal datives, The royal road to argument status

Mira Ariel, Elitzur Dattner, John W.Du Bois, Tal Linzen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Based on a large corpus of dative constructions in Hebrew, we propose that dative-marked pronominals manifest a facilitated path from adjunct to argument. Since datives tend to be pronominal, adding them onto existing argument structures avoids a clash with the Preferred Argument Structure (PAS) Quantity constraint against more than one lexical noun phrase per clause. Supporting a more fluid adjunct/argument distinction, our first claim is that different Hebrew datives are grammaticized as arguments to different degrees. We then demonstrate a correlation between the degree of grammaticization of the dative as an argument and pronoun/lexical ratios. We show that incipient grammaticization phases involve virtually exclusive use of pronominal datives, but deeper grammaticization phases allow increased use of lexical nouns, within the constraints of PAS. Thus, it is pronouns that blaze the path from adjunct to argument status.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)257-321
    Number of pages65
    JournalStudies in Language
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2015


    • Adjunct/ argument
    • Dative constructions
    • Grammaticization
    • Hebrew
    • Preferred argument structure

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Communication
    • Linguistics and Language


    Dive into the research topics of 'Pronominal datives, The royal road to argument status'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this