Query on analytic causative verbs

André Müller esperantist at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 28 23:51:04 UTC 2012

Dear Suzanne,
You might also want to have a look at Thai, e.g. the grammar by David
Smyth, or the "Thai Reference Grammar" by James Higbie & Snea Thinsan. In
the latter there are some useful examples and explanations on pages
137-139, like for instance:

(1) ผมให้เขาไปซื้ของ
pʰǒm           hâj  kʰáw    paj  sɯ́ː  kʰɔ̌ːŋ
1SG.MASC give 3.HUM go   buy  thing
'I had him go and buy something.'

There are some more examples of this in the book. A more common way to form
causative constructions in Thai, though, is with a serial verb construction
involving ทำให้ [tʰam hâj], literally "make give". There, ให้ [hâj] (give)
usually introduces the beneficient, or maleficient, as in the following
example (from a book I am reading):

(2) เรื่องราวเกี่ยวกับข้อมูลทำให้เราเวียนหัวได้เสมอ
rɯ̂ːaŋraːw kìːaw               kàp  kʰɔ̂ːmuːn  tʰam   hâj   raw   wiːan
hǔːa   dâːj  sàmɤ̌ː
story        be_concerned  with  data        make  give  1PL  spin    head
can  always
'Stories about (these) data can always make our heads spin.'

I'm not sure if this last example might be useful for you. Anyways, any
Thai grammar should have something about ให้ [hâj] 'to give', which can be
used as an causativizer.

Best wishes,
- André Müller
(University of Leipzig)

2012/3/28 Suzanne Kemmer <kemmer at rice.edu>

> Hi all,
> I have been queried about something I wrote a long time ago, and I did not
> document the facts well enough to easily find more examples of a
> particular kind.
> Does anyone know of any languages in which the causative verb in an
> analytic causative construction
> is a verb literally meaning 'give'?    The example I came across in
> fieldwork and mentioned in my
> paper with Arie Verhagen is:   Luo MIYO  'give' which is used as an
> analytic causative verb.
> The easiest way to sum up the analytic causative construction I am talking
> about
> is:   [  Causer    V(of causation)    Causee      V    (Patient)   ]  .
> Examples include English 'I made her laugh'  and the French FAIRE
> causative.
> Case marking/grammatical relations of the participants  can vary across
> languages; word order can vary.  The second verb - the
> one with the variable lexical content, which expresses a predicate of
> result in this construction -- may or may not be finite, and if non-finite
> may or may not have an infinitive marker.
> The range of meanings of the construction should include  'X made Y do
> something'/ 'X caused Y to do something'.
> The reason:
> I am aware that some languages do not sharply distinguish 'strict
> causation' from
> other force dynamic configurations like allowing or ordering; such
> meanings are often found with such constructions as well as  'strict
> causation'.
> 'Strict causation', which I have often been told is the only
> interpretation of such constructions that is typologically relevant, means
> causation
> as logicians define it:   The caused predicate follows the causing
> predicate (or its associated specific action) in time;  and, supposedly, it
> would not have taken place had not X done something unspecified that is
> expressed schematically by the causing predicate.
> Since many linguists are most interested in this 'logical' causation, I
> wanted to make sure examples of the construction include the meaning 'make
> Y do'.    Not just  'let Y do', 'order Y to do' , etc.
> Thanks for any help!
> Suzanne Kemmer
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