Double Object Constructions

In Romeyka indirect object (IO) determiner phrases (DPs) are: (i) accusative like the direct object (DO) DPs ones (1a), whereas in Standard Modern Greek they are genitive (1d); and (ii) do not alternate with prepositional phrases (1b), unlike Pontic Greek (1c) and Modern Greek (1d):

  1. a. To γarðelin eðotšen fani don aðelfo.                                                                                         (ROf)
         the child gave.3SG food the brother.ACC
         “The child gave food to the brother.”
    b. To γarðelin eðotšen fain son aðelfon.                                                                                     (ROf)
         the child gave.3SG food to-the brother.ACC
         “The child gave food to the brother.”
    c. To peði eðose fai son aðelfo.                                                                                      (Pontic Greek)
         the child gave.3SG food to-the brother.ACC
         “The child gave food to the brother.”
    d. To peði eðose fai ston aðelfo / tu aðelfu fai.                                                                          (SMG)
         the child gave.3SG food to-the brother / the brother.GEN food

In Romeyka, both surface orders (IO-DO and DO-IO) are licit, despite the morphological homonymy, although the most common order in our data was DO-V-IO:

  1. a. To peði eðotše fai ton aðelfo/ton aðelfo fai.                                                                          (RSür)
         the kid gave.3SG food.ACC the brother.ACC/the brother.ACC food.ACC
         “The kid gave food to the brother.”
    b. Eγo eðoka ton Mehmeti ena kitap/ena kitap ton Mehmeti.                                             (ROf)
         I gave.1SG the Mehmet.ACC a book.ACC/a book.ACC the Mehmet.ACC
         “I gave Mehmet a book.”

Crucially, Barss & Lasnik’s (1986) diagnostics for c-command indicate that DPDO asymmetrically c-commands DPIO:

  1. Weak Crossover Effects (Romeyka):
  1. a. Pion zon ekloses ton tšopanonat?                                                                                            (RSür)
        which animal sent.2SG the shepherd-its
       “Which animal did you send to its shepherd?”
    b. *Tinan tšopan(i) ekloses to zonat?                                                                                          (RSür)
           which shepherd sent.2SG the animal-his
          “Which shepherd did you send his animal to?”
  1. Superiority effects (Romeyka):
  1. a. Doγna tinan eðikses?                                                                                                                    (ROf) 
         what whom showed.2SG
    a’. *Tinan doγna eðikses?                                                                                                                (ROf)
          whom what showed.2SG
         “What did you show to whom?”
    b. Pion fa(j)in tinan eðotšen?                                                                                                         (ROf)
         which food whom gave.3SG
        “Which food did she give to whom?”
  1. Quantifier variable binding (Romeyka):
  1. Ta γarðelæi xoræ xoræi eðiksa tši maγlimis’atuni                                                                    (ROf)
    the children.ACC each each showed.1SG the teachers.ACC-their
    “I showed all the children, one by one, to their teachers (each child to her
    own teacher).”
    *“I showed every child his/her teacher.”

These data are rather important because it seems that the underlying order in double order constructions is DO>>IO which then makes German not the only language having this underlying order (see Müller 1995, McGinnis 1999). In fact, the situation seems to be the same in some diachronic varieties of Greek as well, notably Medieval Cypriot Greek (as well as Hellenistic Greek; see Michelioudakis 2010b, 2011). This constitutes a serious challenge for the validity of any cross-linguistic generalization whereby IO DPs always merge higher than DOs.


References in which this material appears:

Michelioudakis, D. & I. Sitaridou. (2012). ‘Syntactic microvariation: Dative Constructions in Greek’. In R. Etxepare & B. Fernández (eds.), Datives in variation: a micro-comparative perspective. Oxford: OUP. pp. 212-255.