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to make vs. to do

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by vince, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    English
    Hello all,

    I'm wondering which languages have a make/do distinction.

    Some languages have a single word that means both "to make" and "to do". For example, Spanish "hacer", French "faire", Mandarin 做 ("zuo").

    Whereas some languages, like English, have two words. I think Cantonese also has this distinction, 做 ("zo") means "to do" while "zing" means "to make" (among other meanings).

    Which languages have the make-do distinction?

    I'm pretty sure all languages have some alternate words used to emphasize the difference, e.g. French you can say "produire" (to produce) or "fabriquer" (to manufacture), or "créer" (to create) in order to indicate the "to make" meaning of "faire", but it doesn't count as a true make-do distinction because the core verb for to make/do is still a single verb.
     
  2. macta123 Senior Member

    India
    India,Hindi
    In Hindi

    To make (something) = Banana
    To do (something) = Karna

    For eg. Make some tea = Chai banao (as an order - imperative)
    Do your work = Kaam karo
     
  3. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Norwegian Bokmål:

    To make: å lage
    To do: å gjøre

    Norwegian Nynorsk:

    To make: å lage
    To do: å gjere
     
  4. optimistique Senior Member

    Dutch:

    to make = maken
    to do = doen

    So not very different;)
     
  5. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    haha "Banana". so how do you say "to make a banana"? Banana banana? lol that does make sense doesn't it? although when on earth would you need to say that anyway? people can't make bananas, they grow themselves! moving on..

    Gujarati:

    to make - Banaaw-waanu
    to do - Kar-waanu

    similar to the hindi actually.
     
  6. Mutichou Senior Member

    France
    France - French
    In German:
    to do = tun
    to make = machen.
     
  7. In Turkish you have yapmak and etmek. I think it would be:

    etmek = to do
    yapmak = to make

    but I'm not entirely sure!
     
  8. Pivra Senior Member

    ...
    In Thai

    To do= tam
    Did, Done, to act = kratam
    To make= phlit (ph= soft p)
     
  9. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Arabic:

    There are exceptions of course, but generally

    to do = فعل (fa'ala)
    to make = صنع (Sana'a)
     
  10. chuff

    chuff Senior Member

    USA
    English
    In Romanian, the verb a face can mean both
    but i know that Romanian has a distinction somewhere...
     
  11. Brazilian dude Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    In Portuguese we have fazer for both do and make.

    Brazilian dude
     
  12. kamome

    kamome Senior Member

    amalfi - italy
    italian - italy
    Italian, too, shows several "alternative" expressions, mostly similar to the ones you listed for your French samples, Vince...PRODURRE, REALIZZARE, CREARE and so on, actually to emphasize or precise a path of some DOING SOMETHING...but the main and wider spoken range, as you said, is totally coveder by the all-suitable FARE, and I myself wouldn't say these options are a real "distinction".
    かもめ。
     
  13. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    No, that's wrong. "to do" means "machen" or "tun", and "to make" is "herstellen".

    to do homework - Hausaufgaben machen
    to make a toy - ein Spielzeug herstellen

    "tun" is often used as an auxiliary verb, colloquially, but it's rarely used in other cases.
     
  14. Bienvenidos

    Bienvenidos Senior Member

    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    I like whodunit's examples, so here they are in Farsi:

    I do homework - Muh korkhonagí míconum
    I make a toy - Muh soman júrmíconum

    Júrkudan is to fix or to make.Thus, Muh machina júrmíconum means I fix the machine, not I make the machine

    Bien
     
  15. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I think "herstellen" is too specific a translation; it works only in specific situations (to mean "to make"). Obviously there are exceptions but in most cases "machen" works as a translation of "to make." Just look at the etymological similarity between the two words!
     
  16. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    English
    herstellen doesn't count as "to make" because it's too specific. Otherwise every language has a make/do distinction. Spanish has crear/producir/realizar, French has créer/produire/realiser, etc. But these words mean "to create"/ "to produce" / "to achieve/realize"

    If someone asked you how to say "to make" in German, you would probably answer "machen" right away, not herstellen.

    The fact that you can say Hausaufgaben machen proves that German doesn't have a make/do distinction. How can you "make" homework?

    Etymological similarity sometimes doesn't work, as word meanings can change. e.g. the ancient word *prendere means "to take" in French but "to capture/arrest" in Spanish.
     
  17. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Of course, but that means that we don't have a word that means "make". There are some situations in which you can translate "make" and "machen", but in many you can't - and vice versa.

    I'd rather say "machen" works as a perfect translation for "do". Just think of examples with "tun". Would you prefer "tun" or "machen" in writing? In spoken language, of course, we often use "tun", but not in situations in which you could use "machen" instead.

    Moreover, the Arabic word "fa3ala" is always translated as "machen" to German, whereas I have never seen a dictionary that translates it as "to make" to English. They use "to do". And German dictionaries usually don't suggest "tun" for "fa3ala". :)

    That's irrelevant. Etymological similarity doesn't mean that the words have the same meaning. "actual" and "aktuell" are totally different in meaning, for instance. ;)
     
  18. optimistique Senior Member

    Well, in Dutch this gets tricky. To make is certainly 'maken' and to do is certainly 'doen'. But:

    To do your homework = Je huiswerk maken


    In Dutch the translations are often the other way around in expressions.
    How do you do? - Hoe maakt u het?
     
  19. Brazilian dude Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    I can think of another one in Dutch:

    This doesn't have anything to do with that.
    Dit heeft niets te maken met dat.

    Brazilian dude
     
  20. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Hungarian: we do have two verbs

    do > tesz
    make > csinál
     
  21. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    Add Greek among Spanish, French, and Mandarin. In Greek, both to do & to make are translated as «κά(μ)νω» ['ka(m)no] < Classical v. «κάμνω» kámnō --> to work, wrought
    E.g
    It has nothing to do with.. --> «Δεν έχει τίποτα να κάνει με..»
    I'm making some changes in my life --> «Κάνω κάποιες αλλαγές στη ζωή μου»
    Also, depending on context, we can use different verbs for each action.
     
  22. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    Hebrew has interchangeable verb(s) for it.

    make: ליצור, לברוא litzor (=make from materials, or from mind for art), livro (=create as in god create). and many more specific make verbs.

    do: לעשות la'asot - general do, can be replaced by any of the specific make verbs.
     
  23. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In Ancient Greek, wasn't the verb práttein (the basis of practice, pragmatic, etc.) used in the sense of English "do" rather than "make"?

    I think the verb poieîn (as in onomatopoeia, etc.) could mean both "make" and "do", but was it the most common verb for the latter meaning?
     
  24. aruniyan Senior Member

    Tamil
    To make - Pannu (comes from the word Pani(work), which comes from the sense working under some, to accept what others say/order(Paninthu). The Hindi word banana also could be this origin.

    To do - Sei (older word also could mean 'to make')
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  25. mataripis Senior Member

    to make in Tagalog is "Gawain" while to do can be " gampanan" in some cases.1.) Make a small furniture out of these native materials. (Gumawa ng gamit pang pahay mula sa mga kagamitang Sibol (o taal sa atin). 2.) Can you do what they did.? (magagampanan mo ba ang nagawa nila?)
     
  26. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    Yes indeed it was used as the English do, e.g:
    «Ἄριστα πράττει»
    S/he's doing it right
    Indeed the verb «ποιέω/ποιῶ» pœéō (uncontracted)/pœô (contracted) means both general senses, make and do, e.g:
    «ἀπὸ ξύλων ποεῖν» --> to make (something) of wood
    «ποιεῖν Σπαρτιατικά» --> doing it the Spartan way.
    Τhe use of the suffix «-ποιῶ» demonstrates ΙΜΗΟ that the meaning of making, prevails over doing:
    «Τελειοποιῶ» --> To make something perfect
    «Ποιητής» --> Poet (the maker)
    «Ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον» (LXX) --> Let us make man (Gen. 1:26 NKJV)
     
  27. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Also there's להכין lehakhin which can mean "To do" (I think only in regard to homework), "To make" (A soup, a bomb, etc) and "To prepare".
     
  28. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    all of which are under the "many more specific make verbs."
     
  29. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    I think לברוא is much more specific, especially given the fact that it isn't used in modern Hebrew at all...
     
  30. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    same answer applies.
     

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