Applicative Constructions (Feature 91)
In an applicative construction, the number of object arguments selected by the predicate is increased by one with respect to the basic construction. For example, in Tukang Besi (Austronesian; Sulawesi), the verb ‘fetch’ takes one theme object in the basic construction (as shown in 1), but with the applicative marker -ako it takes two objects, theme and benefactive (as shown in 2).
(1) Basic construction, 2-place predicate
No-ala te kau.
3.REALIS-fetch the wood
‘She fetched the wood.’
(2) Applicative construction, 3-place predicate
No-ala-ako te ina-su te kau.
3.REALIS-fetch-APPL the mother-my the wood
‘She fetched the wood for my mother.’
We restrict the designation applicative to those cases where the addition of an object is overtly marked on the predicate. Thus English pairs such as She baked a cake – She baked Oscar a cakedo not count as basic-applicative alternation.
Applicative markers most often introduce benefactive arguments (values 1-4), sometimes only benefactives (values 1-2), but sometimes non-benefactive arguments such as instruments and locatives (values 3-7).
Applicatives are sometimes restricted to transitive bases (values 2, 4, 6), or to intransitive bases (value 7), but they can often be formed from transitive and intransitive bases alike (values 1, 3, 5).
|1||Benefactive object only; both intransitive and transitive bases||Chamorro, Kannada|
|2||Benefactive object only; transitive base only||Indonesian|
|3||Benefactive andother; both intransitive and transitive bases||Tukang Besi, Chichewa, Lingala, Swahili, Zulu, Wolof, Hausa|
|4||Benefactive and other; transitive base only||Abkhaz|
|5||Non-benefactive object only; both intransitive and transitive bases||Dyirbal|
|6||Non-benefactive object only; transitive base only||Jakaltek|
|7||Non-benefactive object only; intransitive base only||Fijian|
|8||No applicative construction exists||English, French, Spanish|