Ditransitive constructions

Author : Bernard Comrie, Martin Haspelmath, Andrej Malchukov

Publication date : 2010

Bibliographical references :

Malchukov, Andrej, Haspelmath, Martin and Comrie, Bernard (eds). 2010. Studies in Ditransitive Constructions: A Comparative Handbook. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. p. 65-73


This questionnaire helps linguists to elicit data on the morphological, syntactic and lexical properties of ditransitive constructions. However, it was designed to study a single ditransitive construction at one time; if the target language has more than one, the questionnaire has to be completed as many times as there are different types of constructions.

Protocol summary

The questionnaire is analytical and based on questions dealing with various aspects of ditransitive constructions.
"The following questions relate to the theme and recipient of the ditransitive construction, though for comparison corresponding information should always be given for the patient (P) of the monotransitive construction." (Comrie et al., 2010: 1)

The 50 questions of this questionnaire are divided in three parts:
- Argument Coding Properties: about flagging (q 1-4), indexing (q 5-8), the order of the two arguments (q 9-12), animacy or hierarchy effects (q 13a, 13b, 13c) and interaction between coding strategies (q 14).
- Behavioral Properties: about passive, relative clause formation, constituent question, suppletion, nominalixation, reflexives, reciprocals. Questions 23 to 37 are advanced questions on behavioral properties.
- Lexical properties of verbs and markers: including three main questions and ten advanced questions about lexical properties and argument encoding.


Development context

The questionnaire is Chapter 2 (pp. 65-73) of the 2010 Studies in Ditransitive Constructions: A Comparative Handbook, edited by Andrej Malchukov, Martin Haspelmath and Bernard Comrie.  It follows an introductory chapter offering a typological overview of ditransitive constructions (pp. 1-64).

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