Abstract

In this study I investigate the linguistic strategies available in Oceanic languages for the encoding of events with three participants (such as expressions of 'sending', 'giving', 'showing', 'telling', or doing something for someone's benefit). The notion of three-participant events is traditionally associated with the concept of ditransitive clauses, but there are, in fact, a variety of other strategies found cross-linguistically, and only some of these involve ditransitive constructions. Languages may differ considerably in which of these methods of encoding they productively use. In the present study I explore which of the strategies are used in the Oceanic language group. This may be a first step toward establishing whether language families or groups differ in their preferences for certain strategies and whether such preferences correlate with other typological features. While in some strategies all three event participants are encoded by syntactic means, in other strategies the involvement of a third participant is essentially evoked by pragmatics. The Oceanic language group seems to show a greater preference for such pragmatic strategies than is familiar from the study of the better-known European languages.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 71-127
Launched on MUSE
2007-07-30
Open Access
No
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