double accusative (was Re: passive of causatives)

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Wed Jul 8 09:26:49 UTC 1998

Sandra van der Geer wrote
>I agree with you in considering one accusative the direct object, and the
>other accusative the indirect object, or the dative. As we all know, one
>and the same function or kAraka can be denoted by several cases.

        I can't agree: to take one of both accusatives as a dative is an
anchronism, projecting ancient syntax to our own and above all forgiving
the pragmatical shift of some verbs. I believe that, in ancient time, to
give, to spell and some other ones were direct actions on the receiver,
constraining him strongly. I can go further: from sentences such:
        * vAkyam uvaca rAmam
        * dAnaM dadau rAmam
we can suppose the personnal accusative being the 'true' direct object, the
other one being just a reinforcement of the verb or, better, an unmarked
'formal place' where can occur a substitution to precise the actual vAkyam
or dAnam (I use here 'formal' and 'actual' with the same meaning as for the
parameters of a procedure in computing languages). In fact, the correct
sentences must be prefixed by the anaphoric 'idam', the role played by
'vAkyam' being to determine the semantical class of this 'idam' and I
believe that 'idaM vAkyam' is not here an accusative but the unmarked case
of neutral words.
        Other opinions?
PS (for French readers only): mon professeur de sanskrit m'enseignait de
toujours commencer par traduire mot-a-mot vaktum:interpeller et
dAtum:gratifier afin de maintenir la transitivite la plus importante.

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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