[Lingtyp] languages lacking a verb for 'give'

Mira Ariel mariel at tauex.tau.ac.il
Thu Jan 27 08:18:18 UTC 2022


Gafter et al 2019 discuss the current grammaticization of Hebrew 'bring' into a 'give' meaning, and DuBois and Ariel discuss the use of mostly 'put' verbs in Biblical Hebrew and in Sakapultek Mayan for the same purpose (this one is a secret festschrift I'm happy to share if you write me personally). Neither papers discuss double-clause constructions.

How does ‘bring’ (not) change to ‘give'? Folia Linguistica 53: 2. 443-478. (Roey Gafter, Scott Spicer and Mira Ariel)

Mira Ariel

From: Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] On Behalf Of David Gil
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2022 6:22 AM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] languages lacking a verb for 'give'

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. (http://hdl.handle.net/10108/89844)

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


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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<mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>

Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713

Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81344082091

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