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Original scientific paper

Dubravko Kučanda; University of Osijek, Osijek



The so-called dative subjects are characterized by two anomalous coding properties: oblique case marking and lack of agreement. On the other hand, dative subjects show two syntactic properties typical of nominative subjects: control of reflexivization and the ellipsis of the implicit subjects of the infinitive. These two properties are taken as crucial evidence for the subjecthood of the dative NP.
This paper argues against the claim that datives are subjects at a more abstract level of syntactic analysis. Croatian evidence shows that unlike typical nominative subjects putative dative subjects cannot antecede the possessive-reflexive svoj and that the control of the implicit subject of the infinitive can be accounted for in pragmatic terms. Semantically, the dative encodes Experiencer to whom things involuntarily happen.



dative subject; syntax; reflexivization; control; pragmatics; Croatian language


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