‘Light appears as a wave if you ask it “a wavelike question,” and it appears as a particle if you ask it “a particle-like question.” This is a template for understanding how contradictory explanations of reality can simultaneously be true.
And it’s not so much true, as our cultural debates presume, that science and religion reach contradictory answers to the same particular questions of human life. Far more often, they simply ask different kinds of questions altogether, probing and illuminating in ways neither could alone.’
– Albert Einstein
In her book, English: Meaning and Culture (2006), linguist Anna Wierzbicka zooms in on the many causative constructions in the English language that allow speakers to vary the extent of focus they place on how much a person tried to cause another person to do something. In other words, these causal constructions can mask or reveal how much someone imposed upon someone’s else’s autonomy.
For example, she provides these 11 interpersonal causative construction types that use the keywords make, have, and let (Wierzbicka, 2006, page 172):
- X made Y do something intentionally (e.g., X made Y wash the dishes)
- X made Y do something unintentionally (e.g., X made Y cry)
- X made Y adjective (e.g., X made Y furious)
- X had Y do something (e.g., X had Y wash the dishes)
- X had something done to X’s Z (e.g., X had her boots mended)
- X had Y doing something (e.g., X had Y staying with her)
- X got Y to do something (e.g., X got Y to wash the dishes)
- X got Y adjective (e.g., X got Y furious)
- X got herself participle (e.g., X got herself kicked out)
- X verb-ed Y into doing Z (e.g., X talked/tricked Y into resigning)
- X verb-ed Y doing something (e.g., X kept Y waiting)
Wierzbicka suggests that these constructions convey key information about the causer (X) and the causee (Y), including their relative social positions, and Y’s apparent compliance.
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