[Lingtyp] languages lacking a verb for 'give'

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Thu Jan 27 04:21:40 UTC 2022

Dear Matthew, all,

Gil (2017), dealing with a range of Austronesian and non-Austronesian 
languages of Northwest New Guinea, discusses ways in which a language 
may fail to have a word for GIVE.Its focus is on the coexpression of 
GIVE, DO, and a variety of other grammatical functions.For example, in 
Meyah (NE Bird's Head), /eita /DO plus /gu/ TO means GIVE, while /eita/ 
DO plus /jeska /FROM means TAKE (p.84).Similarly, in Yawa (isolate), 
/au/ DO plus /to /GO means GIVE (p.84)

Gil, David (2017) "Roon ve, DO/GIVE Coexpression, and Language Contact 
in Northwest New Guinea", in A. Schapper ed., /Contact and Substrate in 
the Languages of Wallacea Part 1/, /NUSA/ 62:41-100. 

Since writing the above paper I became aware of another way in which a 
language can avoid using a word for GIVE.In Papuan Malay there is a GIVE 
word, but the notion of giving can also be expressed by simply leaving 
the GIVE word out.So for example, a sequence of three nouns, N N N, may 
in the right context be interpreted as "A gives G P".(No other "verb 
meaning" is obtainable this way.)


On 27/01/2022 05:43, Matthew Dryer wrote:
> I am sending this query on behalf of a colleague.
> He wants to know whether anyone knows of a language that lacks a 
> "give" type verb and would express something like "I gave him the 
> book" instead as something like "I presented the book (to him) and he 
> took it". That is, is there a language that can only express a 
> give-type concept with two more analytic clauses?
> Matthew Dryer
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp

David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany

Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81344082091
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