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The family of German dative constructions



The central topic of the study deals with the dative case

and the dative object. They have been studied in detail within the framework of projectionist theories, but the results of these studies vary according to the

researchers (see Wegener 1985, Schmidt 1988, Schöfer 1992, to name just a few).

One of the major difficulties for the description of dative objects results from the fact that structures with dative objects diverge from each other from a semantic point of view in spite of their formal similarity. In German, structures with a so called 'free dative', i.e. a nominal phrase in the dative case which does not belong to the valency frame of the verb, have the same syntactic pattern as structures with a prototypical dative object which is a well-defined argument of the verb. The description of structures with a free dative object constitutes a big challenge for projectionist theories like valency grammar. In our study we will show that Goldberg's definition of abstract constructions (1995 and 2006) and her concept of semantic roles make it possible to describe the variety of structures with a dative object as a 'family of dative constructions'.

German being a morphologically complex language, we further show that the model of Construction Grammar as defined by Goldberg (1995 and 2006)cannot do without describing the valency properties of the verbs in the constructions (see also Herbst 2011 and Stefanowitsch 2011).


De Knop Sabine, Mollica Fabio.


construction grammar / dative construction / German constructions / free dative vs. obligatory dative / family of constructions.


Fabio Mollica (Università degli Studi di Milano)
Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibez (University of La Rioja), Paula Pérez Sobrino (University of La Rioja), Alba Luzondo Oyón (University of La Rioja).