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

David Gil gil at eva.mpg.de
Wed Feb 18 03:52:21 UTC 2015


Hi Hilario,

Greetings from Manokwari.  If you can spare a few moments of your time 
for a linguistic puzzle ...

I don't know whether you follow the LINGTYP list, but a couple of days 
ago I posted a query on languages which have the same word for 'give' 
and for 'do'/'take' (see below).  So far I have received a handful of 
positive responses, including one from Randy LaPolla who notes that 
Classical Chinese had very similar words for "do" and for "benefactive" 
(differing only in tone).  So I am wondering whether you are familiar 
with any contemporary Sinitic languages/dialects that have the same (or 
similar) words for 'give' (or the benefactive) and for 'do'/'make'.  If 
you can't think of any, I would also be greatly appreciative of negative 
data, ie. languages/dialects that have different words for these two 
meanings.

And while we're on the topic, I'd also be interested to know whether 
'give' and 'do'/'make' are the same or different in Dera.

Many thanks,

David



On 16/02/2015 15:14, David Gil 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/
>

-- 
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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