In this paper, we examine the change of functions of the representative ‘hada(do)’-like dummy verbs ‘zuo(做)’ and ‘gao(搞)’, in-depthly distinguish between syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic differences from a Diachronic and synchronic perspectives.
Through this study on ‘zuo(做)’ and ‘gao(搞)’, we reached several conclusions as follows. First, diachronically, ‘zuo’ originated from the original ancient word ‘zuo(作)’, and only after the inter-Korean dynasty came to have the meaning of ‘do’ and ‘to die’, and the frequency and scope of use gradually after the Tang five Dynasty. Began to expand and become vain. On the other hand, ‘gao(搞)’ is a Southwest dialect, and was absorbed into modern Chinese until around 1950, and the vocabulary meaning and grammar function of modern Chinese were established. These two verbs are similar but have different syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic differences due to the difference in historical origin and transition process.
Second, syntactically, ‘zuo(做)’ is mainly combined with a two-syllable noun or verb object, while ‘gao(搞)’ is combined with a one-syllable bore or a complex object form of three or more syllables. This is considered to be the influence of the trend of two syllables and four syllables in modern Chinese phonemes. In addition, the common adverbs, syntax forms, and types of bore that the two verbs combine were somewhat different. ‘zuo(做)’ is mainly combined with ‘modal adverb’, which indicates the way of action or attitude, while ‘gao(搞)’ was strongly combined with the ‘degree adverb’, which mainly indicates the state or degree.
Third, semantically, ‘zuo(做)’ and ‘gao(搞)’ showed differences not only in their intrinsic verb meanings, but also in the semantic qualities of the object components they combine. ‘zuo(做)’ is mainly [+status] [+relationship] [+industry] [+activity] mainly [+Independent] [+specific] [+action] [+medium･positive], etc. In addition to the meaning of ‘to engage’, the meaning of ‘to become’, ‘to take on’, ‘to produce’, and ‘to proceed’, while ‘gao(搞)’ mainly refers to [-status] [-relationship] [+industry] [+system]. In combination with semantic features such as [± Independent] [+abstract] [+state] [+negative], the meaning of ‘to engage’ or ‘execute’ was expressed.
Fourth, pragmatically, ‘zuo(做)’ and ‘gao(搞)’ have a difference in stylistic colors, and ‘zuo(做)’ derived from ‘作’ used in ancient texts is mainly government agencies. It is used in formal documents such as the system and official documents, and is mainly used in written form in modern Chinese, whereas ‘gao’, which originally originated in the Southwest dialect and has a strong regional character, naturally has a strong regional color, so it is a significant part of the colloquial language in modern Chinese.
In conclusion, the two dummy verbs of Chinese ‘zuo(做)’ and ‘gao(搞)’ have considerable differences in actual syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic terms, although they seem to have similar usages formally. It is the result of changes in connection with each other.