Giving is receiving

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This paper looks at the polysemous, multifunctional Shaowu verb [tie53] which means ‘to get’ in a mono-transitive construction, and which is relexified to mean ‘to give’ in a ditransitive construction through the process of semantically coerced syntactic change. The morpheme then grammaticalises along a bifurcated pathway to become possibility modal suffix, verb complement marker, dative, benefactive, causative and passive markers, among other things. This poly-functionality may in part be due to language internal change, but may also be attributed to contact-induced grammaticalisation. Various historical documents are examined to follow the diachronic change, whereas languages from neighbouring dialect groups and language families are considered for the likelihood of areal diffusion of certain constructions and functions of the Shaowu GET/GIVE verb of [tie53].


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