"H. S. Teoh" wrote:
> But yeah, I know what you're talking about. I struggled for a long time
> with the awkwardness of the accusative + dative construct too, because
> when you give something to someone, that someone is a primary focus of
> your sentence; it shouldn't be relegated to a secondary dative case.
> Rather, the thing given, which usually isn't that important in terms of
> focus, should be the noun that's in a secondary tense, and the recipient
> of the gift should be in a primary tense.

There is a system used by some languages called dicta-something, can't
remember the term, where recipient and patient of a monotransitive verb
are in one case, and "gift" in a ditransitive is in another.  English
actually uses this system syntactically:

I bought the book
The book was bought (by me)

I gave John the book
John was given the book (by me)

I gave the book (to John)
The book was given (to John) (by me)

Note that the third sentence is actually a monotransitive sentence with
a prepositional phrase "to John".  "book" in the first and third
sentence, and "John" in the second are treated the same, by being
allowed to become subjects of passives.  But "book" in the second
sentence cannot be the subject of a passive, *"The book was given John"
is not grammatical in Contemporary English.  The third sentence could be
thought of as a sort of voice promoting "gift" to "patient" and making
"recipient" into an oblique (and thus optional, "I gave the book" is
grammatical).  So, they can be thought of as:

I-A bought the book-P
The book-S was bought

I-D gave John-R the book-G [D = Donor, R = Recipient, G = Gift]
John-S was given the book-G
I-A gave the book-P to John
The book-S was given to John

Both R and P can be made into S by passive voice, but G cannot.

Traditional Accusative groups S, A, and D into "nominative"; P and G
into "accusative", and R is "dative"
Traditional Ergative groups S, P, and G into "absolutive", A and D into
"ergative", and R is "dative"
Dicta-whatever groups S, A and D into "nominative", P and R into
"Primary Object" and G into "Secondary Object"
A mixing of ergative and dicta-whatever could be done, such that S, P
and R are "absolutive", A and D are "ergative", and G is "object"
(donative case?) or whatever terms would be used.  However, I've never
heard of this, but I don't see why it couldn't be done.

Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos
God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb
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