This article explores geographical variation in a range of understudied dative constructions in American English. It shows that these constructions are found primarily in the South and that they permit numerous syntactic variations and permutations. However, not all sentences and constructions have an equal status. In particular, the authors find that they lie on a continuum of markedness. More marked variants are judged acceptable by fewer speakers and have a more limited geographic distribution. And yet, even the most marked variants cannot be dismissed: the strong geographic nature of their distribution shows that they are a genuine part of the grammar of many speakers. Overall, this research contributes a more detailed picture of dative constructions in American English and a more nuanced picture of syntactic variation in Southern American English; moreover, the authors offer a novel approach to measuring geographical markedness in syntactic variation.

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