double accusatives

T.I. Console info at TICONSOLE.NL
Tue Jul 14 20:07:18 UTC 1998

George Simpson wrote

>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".

The original situation of `rAma.m pustaka.m darzayati' then is like `(he) makes rama - see the book. In other words, rama as the higher object, and the book as the lower object.

However, Boris Oguibenine wrote

>On the other hand a current distinction is between the high
>transitivity (a book is given or given to see) and the low transitivity
>("he" is only secondarily affected by the agent). The point is that
>"pustakam darzayati/dadAti" is a complete utterance, whereas"*tam
>darzayati/dadAti" is an ellipsed utterance which may be understood
>adequately, only if an additional information about the object of high
>transitive verb 

The original situation of `rAma.m pustaka.m darzayati' then is more like `(he) makes the book - (so that) rAma sees (it). Much more difficult to analyse in terms of (apologize) generative grammar, but more satisfactory also. The analysis with rAma as the higher object goes wrong, as then `see the book' as a whole also functions as a direct object. Two direct obects are difficult. So, it looks as if Boris' observation yields the better conclusion.

George Simpson also wrote:
>therefore I suggest in the case of darzayati a semantic shift from "he
>makes someone (acc.) see something (acc.)" to "he makes something (acc.)
>seen=visible to somebody (dat., later also gen.)." That seems to me a
>better strategy than to jump to the conclusion that an accusative ending
>can express the role "indirect object".

Of course. Unless you indicate this shift-to-come-in-later-times already by a term like indirect object. As we all observe that there is `some' difference between the two accusatives.

Sandra van der Geer
The Netherlands
info at

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