Which comes first in the double object construction?

Posted on August 3, 2015 by

Absentee Mancunian Nuria Yáñez-Bouza and emeritus Mancunian David Denison have a paper in the latest edition of English Language and Linguistics!

The paper asks Which comes first in the double object construction?, and mines a tremendous range of English corpora to investigate variation in pronominal object ordering, e.g. John gave it him vs. John gave him it. It also adduces evidence from the normative grammatical tradition. The conclusion stresses the importance of linguistic “prefabs” in the construction’s development.

You can download the paper from the journal’s website here.

Featured image: Graph showing the diachronic development of the double object construction across twelve corpora combined (from Yáñez-Bouza & Denison 2015: 255).