double accusative (was Re: passive of causatives)

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Fri Jul 10 11:06:33 UTC 1998

Jacob Baltuch wrote:
>Dominique Thillaud wrote:
>>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.
>We were talking about an example with the verb 'darzayati' I believe in the
>meaning of 'show'.
>That the 2nd accusative of the (theoretical) double accusative construction
>of darzayati was considered an indirect object by the users of the language
>themselves is made plain by the fact that that accusative is much more
>replaced by a dative or a genitive.

Pace Panini I feel rather uneasy about the use of meta-grammatical
arguments, because they invite to pressing linguistic data into
preconceived schemes of interpretation. In this case: "tam pustakaM
darzayati" is felt to be equivalent to English "he shows him a book"
(German "er zeigt ihm ein Buch"), and since "him" in this case can be taken
(in analogy to the German "ihm") as an indirect object, we feel entitled to
interprete the accusative "tam", too, as an indirect object. But is it not
more sound to take case endings seriously and to understand the sanskrit
sentence as "he makes him see a book", where we feel no doubt about the
direct object character of both "him" and "the book"? And the fact that
"darzayati" could (since when?) be used with a dative or genitive shows
only that its semantics gradually shifted into the direction of "to show"
(i.e. "to give someone something to see") so that it could be used in
analogy to verbs like "dA". But that does not entitle us in my opinon to
call the accusative "tam" an "indirect object".
 Georg v. Simson

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