What do give and tell have that donate and say haven't got? The former verbs to dativize, i.e., take the structure S V IO O, while the latter verbs do not. Most attempts to discover the qualities that set dativizing verbs apart from other verbs assume that there is a special link between the dative structure and the prepositional structure S V O PREP IO; that the dative structure is acquired separately from other structures; and that, given the right framework and sufficient granularity, it is possible to describe the set of semantic characteristics uniquely characterizing dative verbs. This paper uses child language data to show that there is no need to posit special dative rules or a special semantic class of dative verbs and that the dative structure is acquired in the same way as other syntactic structures.
"Language Acquisition and the 'Dative Alternation',"
Colorado Research in Linguistics: Vol. 16.
Available at: https://scholar.colorado.edu/cril/vol16/iss1/2