Abstract and Keywords
Of the commonly recognised case categories, the dative is perhaps the most difficult to define in a consistent, cross-linguistically valid way. In Greek and Latin, where the term originates, the dative case was used both for the goal/recipient argument of ditransitive verbs, and for the complements of certain intransitive verbs such as ‘help’, ‘obey’, or ‘trust’. These two types of argument are commonly taken to share the property of being ‘indirectly affected’ by the verbal event, and so given the label ‘indirect objects’. Case markers labelled ‘dative’ vary greatly in the range of functions they cover, although they must be assumed to share some common semantic core. It is fairly common for dative functions to be indicated by adpositions, as in English and many other languages of Europe. This article looks at the functional varieties of dative and its overlap with other cases such as dative-accusative syncretism, dative-allative syncretism, and dative-genitive syncretism.
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