[Lingtyp] query: 'give' and 'do'/'make'

Seino van Breugel seinobreugel at gmail.com
Mon Feb 16 10:28:50 UTC 2015


In some varieties of English people say things like: "do me a hamburger",
where "do" means 'give/make'.
Seino

Dr. Seino van Breugel
Lecturer in Linguistics
Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand

On Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 2:31 PM, Siva Kalyan <sivakalyan.princeton at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Japanese *yaru* comes to mind:
> http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/je2/76657/m1u/やる/.
>
> Siva
>
> On 16 Feb 2015, at 5:14 pm, David Gil <gil at eva.mpg.de> wrote:
>
>  Dear all,
>
> Does anybody know of languages in which 'give' and 'do'/'make' are
> expressed with the same or related words?  Or of cases in which forms
> expressing one of these two meanings are historically derived from forms
> expressing the other meaning?
>
> Thanks,
>
> David
>
>
> Further details:
>
> My interest in this question stems from current field work on Roon (South
> Halmahera West New Guinea, Austronesian).  In Roon there is a single form
> *be* expressing both 'give' and 'do'/'make'.  (In fact, the same form *be
> *is associated with a wide range of grammatical and semantic functions,
> most or all of which seem to be derivable diachronically and possibly also
> synchronically from either 'give' or 'do'/'make'.)  A cognate form *be *meaning
> both 'give' and 'do'/'make' is also present in closely related Biak and
> Dusner.
>
> Identical words for 'give' and 'do'/'make' (but unrelated to *be*) also
> occur in at least two nearby non-Austronesian languages, Meyah and Hatam,
> and in the geographically proximate Austronesian language Wooi.  However, I
> have not yet been able to find any other examples of 'give'-'do'/'make'
> identity in other languages of the region, Austronesian or otherwise.
> Thus, 'give'-'do'/'make' identity seems to be an areal characteristic of a
> small region of the eastern Bird's Head and western Cenderawasih Bay, in
> which it presumably spread from the original non-Austronesian to the
> intrusive Austronesian languages, through metatypy, relexification, or some
> such process.
>
> In order to gauge the significance of 'give'-'do'/'make' identity as a
> diagnostic feature of language contact, I am thus interested in getting a
> feel for how widespread this feature is across the world's languages.  For
> what it's worth, I can't think of any examples from other parts of the
> world — can you?
>
> I am also interested in any ideas you might have about what the semantic
> basis of the connection between 'give' and 'do'/'make', and possible
> mechanisms of semantic generalization.  In the Roon/Biak/Dusner case, at
> least, the form *be* is clearly cognate with the proto-Malayo-Polynesian
> word for 'give', suggesting that the direction of semantic  spread was from
> 'give' to 'do'/'make'.  But I have no information on the other known cases
> (Meyah, Hatam, Wooi).
>
>
>
>
> --
> David Gil
>
> Department of Linguistics
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
>
> Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550333
> Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
> Webpage:  http://www.eva.mpg.de/~gil/
>
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