The Theory of Universals and the Problem of Double Object Constructions


  • Kparou, Hanoukoume Cyril, Ph.D. Babcock University, Nigeria
  • Kalejaye, Abiola, Ph.D. Babcock University, Nigeria


Double Object Construction, Prepositional Object Construction, Minimalist Program, Syntactic Order, Universals.


Abstract: The SVOO prototype structures (Subject-Verb-Object-Object) present different features across languages. The first researchers to address the subject proposed five postulates to determine the double object constructions. These principles have been considered as part of syntactic universals, and later, as principles of Universal Grammar. The principles are scrutinized in this paper, drawing data from two languages, French (Roman language) and Lama (Gur language). The data clearly show that two of these principles can be reconsidered because of their questionable status. Just like French which has a DOC (Double Object Construction) marked by the presence of a dative morpheme, Lama illustrates a type of DOC with a morphological marker, intermediate between the two objects. However, Lama has a specificity, because the order of the two objects is interchangeable without changing the meaning. In light of this analysis, it appears that the principles of rigid order and the presence of an intermediate formal marker (or linked to an object as in French), do not have the legitimacy of universals.


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How to Cite

Kparou, Hanoukoume Cyril, Ph.D., & Kalejaye, Abiola, Ph.D. (2021). The Theory of Universals and the Problem of Double Object Constructions. International Journal of Recent Innovations in Academic Research, 5(10), 8–18. Retrieved from