Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 21:59:46 -0700 From: Birrell Walsh Subject: Re: -"had" Constructions On Tue, 11 Oct 1994, Judith Rascoe wrote: > Isn't there an Irish construction along the lines of "he had a drink taken". > As I understand it, it's a faintly euphemistic way of suggesting that the > subject has taken many drinks. ("He claimed he swerved to avoid the cat, but > he had a drink taken if you ask me.") In this sense it reminds me a bit of > what a Peruvian friend said about Spanish -- that lots of things seem to > happen by themselves in that language ('the vase broke itself'). The 'had O > part.' construction relieves the subject of onus. It's trying to shuffle the > action into the "I had my car sideswiped" category, where the subject is > victim. > My Sanskrit teacher pointed out to us that in Sanskrit, the active and the passive have the same status - both derived from the verbal root, and neither derived from the other. Thus they have even passives for intransitives: "It is gone by me" as a way of saying "I go." Maybe these bureaucratic passives, and the "had" constructions, date back to this layer in *IndoEuropean?