How to make do with one verb: a corpus-based contrastive study of do and make
2009, Vol. XIV-1, pp. 67-82
This paper compares do/make in several related European languages, some having two different verbs at their disposal (e.g. do and make in English) and others having to make do with just one verb (e.g. French faire). Using translation corpus data, we demonstrate that, while there are similarities between some of these verbs (especially when the languages belong to the same group, i.e. have either one or two verbs), there are also considerable differences in the functions these verbs can perform or the preferences they exhibit, which results in a generally low degree of equivalence in translations. Our study also presents some results from an experiment aiming to establish the cognitively most salient functions of the different verbs. These results confirm the existence of differences among do/make verbs, and also show that frequency in language does not necessarily imply salience in the mind.