Thursday, March 31, 2016


Dative Verbs

S.J.V. Malloch, "The Classicist," in Blair Worden, ed., Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Historian (London: I.B. Tauris, 2016), pp. 240-254 (at 241-242, with end notes on p. 328; ellipsis in original):
At the first [school], Belhaven Hill, which Trevor-Roper entered in 1924 aged ten, he was thoroughly drilled in the classical languages by Wilfred Ingham, or Bungey as he was called because of his springing step.9 One of the two founders of Belhaven, Bungey seemed a living embodiment of Victorian and Edwardian schoolmasterly eccentricity. He 'had some hobby horses which he would ride, with whip and spur', remembered Trevor-Roper in old age:
One of them was 'dative verbs'. Dative verbs are verbs which, in the Latin language, require the dative, not the accusative case in the nouns which they govern. They also have some other incidental eccentricities. Bungey could not mention dative verbs without making a human parallel and then launching into a diatribe against it. Dative verbs, he would declare, are tiresome, wayward, eccentric, unpredictable verbs which will not conform to the rational rules accepted by their verbal colleagues but insist on going their own way, just like certain persons who always try to be different, thus causing unnecessary difficulties in a well-ordered society ... and then he would be off, unstoppable, far from the set course, denouncing human dative verbs, sometimes, I felt, with a staring eye on me.10
9 Adam Sisman, Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography (London, 2010), p. 13.
10 SOC.Dacre 6/34/2: 'Memoirs chs 1-7', '[Ch.] 4 Belhaven Hill', p. ╬│.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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