Benefactive (role)

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The term benefactive is sometimes uses as a synonym of beneficiary, for the semantic role of the participants who benefits from an action.

  • “The benefactive (or beneficiary) is the semantic role of an emphatic participant which is favoured by a situation, especially by the action of another animate being. […] A prototypical benefactive situation additionally requires an undergoer, i.e. the entity which is created or affected in favour of the beneficiary. This one […] is — contrary to the other two participants— prototypically inanimate.” (Lehmann et al. 2000:93)

Other meanings

The term is also (and more commonly) used for constructions that code or introduce a beneficiary participant in one way or another, especially for benefactive applicatives and benefactive adpositions.


  • Lehmann, Christian, Y.-M. Shin & Elisabeth Verhoeven (2000) Person Prominence and Relation Prominence. On the typology of syntactic relations with special reference to Yucatec Maya. Munich: LINCOM Europa.