Sanskrit & English (the end)

Birgit Kellner kellner at IPC.HIROSHIMA-U.AC.JP
Sun Jul 5 20:22:03 UTC 1998

Thanks to Jacob Baltuch, Sandra van de Geer and Elliot Stern for
removing at least bits of my ignorance about English datives.

Just a few minor points regards Sandra van de Geer's reply. Regarding my
English and German examples

>(a) A friend gave the man a book.
>(b) The man was given a book by a friend.
>(c) Ein Freund gab dem Mann ein Buch.
>(d) Dem Mann wurde von einem Freund ein Buch gegeben.

she wrote:

>In my opinion, b indeed is not exactly the same as d. But there is more: a is not the equivalent in meaning >of b, and c not
> of d. To stick to the German: `ein Freund' is not necessary the friend of the favoured man (`dem Mann'), > > while `einem
> Freund' sounds more like a real friend of the man in question (`dem Mann). You see, meaning has changed, so
> apparently the underlying structures differ a bit.

I agree that (a) and (b) are not equivalent in meaning, but the question
is whether that affects the syntactical point you are trying to
make. I shouldn't think so; it seems to me that all relevant differences
in meaning between these sentence-pairs can be explained pragmatically.
While these differences may affect other syntactic matters (though I
can't really think of any at the moment), they do at least not
affect the issue of dative raising. Also, for clarification, let me add
that I have no doubts whatsoever that dative raising does not work in
German; it was the English that I was confused about.


>e) Den Maennern wurden von einem Freund ein Buch gegeben.
> Ich denke nein. I think e) is not grammatical, while f) is:
> f) Dem Mann wurden von einem Freund einige Buechern gegeben.

> In f) the books (`einige Buechern') are the subject, in e) the man (`den maennern').

The correct form of f) is "Dem Mann wurden von einem Freund einige
Buecher gegeben" (that's "Buecher", not "Buechern").

Also, I think what you may have aimed at with your ungrammatical
sentence e) is the equally ungrammatical sentence

e') Die Maenner wurden von einem Freund ein Buch gegeben.

For if you say "den Maennern", the definite article in the dative case
already rules out that "maenner" is the subject. Yes, e) is
ungrammatical, but simply because the plural verb is off (if you correct
that to the singular "wurde", it becomes grammatical, with "ein Buch" as
the subject and the dative "den Maennern"); the problem of whether or
not dative raising is possible does not arise at all. That's because, if
I understand you correctly, dative raising requires that a noun is put
into the subject position AND that all markers of the former dative are
removed. Which in this case includes changing the definite article from
the dative "den" into the nominative "die". End of digression on how to
be correctly incorrect.

Anyway, my question is answered, and if it's fine with everyone, I
shall end this sub-thread now from my end, and withdraw into a dense
forest populated exclusively with English grammar books.

As for the attachment-issue:

> Is it possible that Netscape is the bad guy (in general, I am AGAINST Microsoft!), as I have a  friend who > also uses
> Netscape, and she, too, receives the attachments?

If Netscape receives something, something must be sent. Hence there must
be a sender of that something. Which could be either your computer or
your server. Also, I have so far never received attachments that were
NOT sent, but then again, maybe that was simply because noone bothered
to non-send them -:)

birgit kellner
department for indian philosophy
hiroshima university

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