This paper offers a formal account for the give-type benefactive constructions involving -cwu in Korean and -age in Japanese. Inspired by Shibatani’s (Jpn Korean Linguist 4:39–74, 1994; in: Shibatani and Thompson (eds) Grammatical constructions: their form and meaning, Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 157–194, 1996) observation that a dative NP in a benefactive sentence is associated with the notion of possession, we propose an account based on lexical decomposition, which has been widely adopted for analyzing ditransitives and some complex predicates in the recent literature. We argue that a dative NP is not a beneficiary but rather a possessor, whose apparent ‘beneficiary’ interpretation is derived via pragmatic inferences, and that a beneficiary role is always encoded in the form of an implicit argument of the benefactive auxiliary -cwu/-age. The proposed analysis accounts for the puzzling distributional patterns of dative arguments in the benefactive construction that cannot be easily captured by a simple ‘benefactive-as-applicative’ analysis. Furthermore, our investigation of the benefactive meaning reveals that it belongs to the not-at-issue tier of meaning in the multi-dimensional semantics, and that the lack of entailment of the benefactive meaning is better analyzed by appealing to generic quantification.
Journal of East Asian Linguistics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 27, 2017
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