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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Query Details

Query Subject:   'Give Fear' ('Frighten')-type Expressions
Author:   Josep Alba-Salas
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Historical Linguistics

Query:   I am studying certain Spanish expressions formed with the verb dar ‘give’
plus a noun designating a psychological state or condition, as in (1).
Their typical use is illustrated in (2).

(1) a. dar miedo ‘frighten’ (literally ‘give fear’)
b. dar envidia ‘make (someone) envious’ (lit. ‘give
c. dar asco ‘disgust’ (lit. ‘give disgust’)
d. dar alegría ‘make (someone) happy’ (lit. ‘give
e. dar tristeza ‘sadden’ (lit. ‘give sadness’)
f. dar vergüenza ‘shame’ (lit. ‘give shame’)

(2) A Lola le dan miedo las arañas.
to Lola to-her give-3pl fear the spiders
‘Spiders frighten Lola.’

Two quick notes. First, some of these ‘give’ expressions can also be formed
with other verbs (e.g. meter miedo ‘frighten’ literally put ‘put fear’),
and they can be paraphrased with ‘heavy’ verbs that are morphologically
related to the nouns combining with dar (e.g alegrar ‘make (someone)
happy’, cf. (1d)), but these alternatives are not my main concern here.
Second, in French, Italian and Catalan, the equivalents of (1) typically
involve the verb ‘make’, rather than ‘give’, e.g. Italian fare paura
‘frighten’ (literally, ‘make fear’).

I would like to know how these expressions are formed in other languages. I
am particularly interested in Basque, Arabic, Latin (Classical and/or
Medieval), Portuguese and Galician, but any information about other
languages, both within and outside the Romance family, will be greatly

Specifically, I would appreciate it if you could

a. Indicate whether cases like (1) in your language(s) involve the verb
‘give’ or ‘make’, providing a few relevant examples (ideally, with
glosses). [If you want to, you can also indicate whether such ‘give’/’make’
expressions can be paraphrased with other verbs, just as in Spanish.];

b. Provide any information about their historical origin (do they seem to
be ‘genuine’ language-internal developments, or calques from another
language?), as well as their use (e.g. in which varieties and/or
registers?); and/or

c. Indicate any sources (e.g. on-line corpora, historical dictionaries)
that I could use to answer these questions in your language(s).

Obviously, I will post a summary of all contributions.

Thank you very much for your help.

LL Issue: 17.1664
Date posted: 01-Jun-2006


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