On Ditransitive Idioms: With Respect to Korean, Hebrew, and English

Ju-Eun Lee 1 ,
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1Soongsil University
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ⓒ Copyright 2017 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Feb 16, 2017 ; Revised: Apr 02, 2017 ; Accepted: Apr 06, 2017

Published Online: Apr 30, 2017


This paper investigates ditransitive idioms of Korean in comparison with Hebrew and English. It describes the distribution of ditransitive idioms on the basis of fixed- and open-slot dimension, following Mishani-Uval and Siloni (2016), and discusses it in relation to argument structure types, verb types, and the word order. This paper shows that the distribution of idioms is sensitive to verb classification of Rappaport Hovav and Levin (2008) (i.e. give- vs. send-type verbs) in all three languages: Fixed-Goal (Open-Theme) idioms and Full idioms (with Fixed-Goal and Fixed-Theme) occur with send-type verbs only in all three languages. Give-type verbs only occur in Fixed-Theme (Open-Goal) idioms. I propose that an analysis that incorporates the idea of verb-sensitivity in structural terms such as Hallman (2015) can account for the similarities and differences in the distribution of ditransitive idioms across the three languages. In doing so, this paper defends (i) Constituency-based approaches to idiom formation and (ii) the base-generation hypothesis for the word order permutation in Korean ditransitives.

Keywords: ditransitive idioms; fixed-goal idioms; fixed-theme idioms; full idioms; verb-sensitivity; constituency-based approach