dative "direct object"

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at worldnet.att.net
Fri Oct 18 02:26:55 EDT 2002

on 10/17/02 9:09 PM, c stirling bartholomew wrote:

> on 10/17/02 8:33 PM, Steven Lo Vullo wrote:
>> I have always taken for granted the category "dative direct object."
>> However, in the course of reading the GNT and thinking about the verbs
>> that are commonly described as taking a dative "direct object," I have
>> come to wonder why the dative in such cases is described in this way.
>> Are there good reasons to think of this use of the dative as a true
>> direct object, or is there a better way to explain the phenomenon?
> One option is to scrap the whole subject-object-indirect_object approach and
> adopt an semantic functional scheme instead. The main verb of a clause can
> be thought of as having zero or more arguments. Each argument can be
> classified as an agent, patient, recipient, goal . . . But  there is no
> universally accepted working set of semantic functions.

One might object that I am trying to replace a bicycle with a kayak. Since
the S-V-O-IO system of analysis has a different focus than semantic
functional analysis and both systems are used by most linguists.

However, if you want to embark from Three Tree Point and go spy on Frank
Peretti* to see if he has any territorial demons floating around in his
yard, you can go by kayak or bicycle. Both will get you there. The kayak is
more direct. 

My problem with the S-V-O-IO system is that Subject and Object are
categories that don't map to anything definite. They are abstractions of a
very unmanageable sort and they seem to just get in the way when you are
trying to understand the meaning of a text.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

Off topic foot note

*Frank Peretti may have moved. He used to live on Vashon Island which is
across 3-4 miles of Puget Sound from Three Tree Point. The kayak is more
direct. Bicycle is kind of messy since there is a ferry trip involved and
when he ferry captain has a bad day an rams the slip the service can be shut
down for long periods of time. I met a man about a week ago embarking with
his kayak from Seahurst beach to his home on Vashon who told me he was fed
up with the #$%#& ferries. I watched him heading south into a light breeze
and wondered what he was going to do in the fall when we have gale force
winds about ever other week.   

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