T.I. Console info at TICONSOLE.NL
Mon Jul 6 09:27:28 UTC 1998

Birgit Kellner schrieb:

>(a) A friend gave the man a book.
>(b) The man was given a book by a friend.

>How do I know that "the man" in (b) does NOT function as a dative? 

It cannot function as a dative, because it occupies the specifier-of-sentence position, in other words, it occupies the subject position. In English, which hardly has case-features, word order plays a decisive role. In German, which has case, word order plays a much smaller role in determining the role of a word or phrase.

>the analogous German examples

>(c) Ein Freund gab dem Mann ein Buch.
>(d) Dem Mann wurde von einem Freund ein Buch gegeben.

>this is easy to figure out because of the definite article "dem", (using
>proper names
>in the examples is not such a good idea, by the way, because this point
>gets obliterated). So the question is: How can it be known that (b) is
>not the exact syntactic equivalent of the German sentence (d), but
>actually exhibits loc raising?

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. As to your question, is not `ein Buch' denn in d der Subjekt? Is it not just an example of scrambling? Scrambling to the left of the dative (not the locative)? Or can you equally say in German

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').

Or am I totally wrong in my knowledge of German?

>by the way, I also get attachments with all your postings; with filename
>"part 1,2", and filetype "ms-tnef". I tried to open one of these as a
>text-file; it just produces confused characters with "Microsoft Mail"
>printed somewhere in the middle. I'm using Windows 95 with Netscape
>communicator as e-mail software.

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?

Sandra van der Geer
Leiden, NL
info at
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