Indirect object and benefactive predications in Chadic: A typological sketch


  • Zygmunt Frajzyngier


Chadic, indirect objects, ditransitives


The aim of the present study is to propose, for the first time, a typology of the forms and functions related to the indirect object and benefactive predications in Chadic languages. Some languages have grammaticalized only the indirect object predication; others have grammaticalized the indirect object and the benefactive predication; and still other languages have not grammaticalized either of the predications, leaving the relevant semantic relations to be inferred from the coding of other predications. In the sample selected there are no languages that have grammaticalized the benefactive but not the indirect object predication. The study also demonstrates the consequences of the grammaticalization of indirect object and benefactive predications: A predication whose verb inherently indicates the presence of an indirect object or benefactive complement requires fewer formal means than a predication whose verb does not inherently imply the presence of an indirect object or benefactive complement. This generalization does not apply to a language that has not grammaticalized either type of predication. The theoretical approach in the present study differs significantly from the usual discussions of related phenomena subsumed under the terms of ‘ditransitive’, ‘three argument verbs’, and ‘datives'.