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On 10 May 2012 08:43, Sai <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>
> ObCL: Anyone use some kind of person / pronoun / etc system that
> permits this kind of first person singular by proxy?
>
>
Not ObCL, but ObNL, I've noticed something like that happening in Modern
Greek.

In Modern Greek, there is no specific causative construction. Rather, one
simply uses a periphrasis like _Κάνω να κάποιος κάνει κάτι_: "I make that
someone does something" or _Κάνω κάποιον να κάνει κάτι_: "I make someone
that (they) do something". For instance: _Κάνω τους φίλους μου να βάψουν
τους τίχους του δοματίου μου_: "I make my friends paint the walls of my
room".
However, when the actual actor isn't mentioned, in Modern Greek this
causative construction isn't normally used, i.e. you don't normally say:
_Κάνω να βάψουν τους τίχους του δοματίου μου_: "I have the walls of my room
painted". It's not wrong, but it's just not used. You don't use a passive
construction either, although that would in principle not be incorrect
either. Rather, the causative construction is omitted altogether, and the
speaker just says that *they* are painting the house, even if they are
actually having it done by someone else. In other words, the sentence:
_Βάφω τους τίχους του δοματίου μου_ can mean both "I paint the walls of my
room" or "I have the walls of my room painted (by someone unmentioned)".
This does look like the "first personal singular by proxy" that you talked
about, doesn't it?

I don't know how common this construction is, but I know that the Modern
Greek course I took specifically talked about this possibility, and the
need to recognise it (i.e. to understand that when a Greek person says "I
will do", they might actually mean "I will have something done", and you
cannot infer that they will do it themselves), so I take it it's not that
rare :) .
-- 
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/