Heidi Harley
in Proceedings of WCCFL XV, Brian Agbayani and Sze-Wing Tang, eds, CSLI, Stanford, CA, pp. 193-207.
Publication year: 1996

The basic question that I intend to explore in this paper is simply expressed. There are languages that lack possessive “have”—they do not express possession in the “owner has ownee” sense that English speakers are familiar with. If one decomposed agentive verbs into a CAUSE element plus some other element one might imagine that the ‘other element’ of a double object verb like “give”, as in “Opus gave Ronald-Ann a book” is a semantic element meaning HAVE (suggested in, e.g. Kayne (1984)) This would give a breakdown like “Opus CAUSED Ronald-Ann HAVE a book”. If this kind of decomposition turned out to be correct, one could imagine that languages that lack verbal “have” would also lack a double object construction. I hope to demonstrate that this correlation at least has some plausibility on a first examination.