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The Causative and Passive Usages of the Dative Verb Yu
This paper discusses at what point in history and by what mechanism the Chinese dative verb yu (與) came to be used to express causative and passive meanings. We will suggest that these two usages began no earlier than the Six Dynasties period and became more prevalent during the Tang and Five Dynasties periods. Linguists have for the most part explained the evolution of this verb as a progression from a dative usage to a causative verb and finally to a passive meaning. However, by looking at similar usages in other languages and at the syntactic characteristic of the verb yu, we show that the use of this dative verb to express causative and passive meanings developed out of a double object construction. The fact that yu could be used to indicate a passive construction in Chinese has typological significance insofar as it is clearly distinct from constructions which use particles such as bei (被), jiao (教) and rang (讓).
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