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I read this sentence today :

你想让我给你打电话吗?

Translated as : "Do you want me to call you?"

My question is : What is the function of 让 here?

I have read that 让 can be used to form causative sentences but I don't think that one sentence has any correlation with causative. Why doesn't the speaker just say :

你想我给你打电话吗?

instead???

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Fundamentally, 让 means 'to let/have/make someone do something'.

The causative meaning is derived from this, when A is the cause of B, A make B happen, A让B发生.

你想让我给你打电话吗? Word by word is 'do you want to let/have/make me call you?', but in Chinese the 让 is merely a filler, it doesn't carry the intensity as in this English sentence.

你想我给你打电话吗?is correct but sounds informal because it feels "uneven" in prosody. Native speakers will tend to use a 2-character verb (phrase) in the place of 想, such as 想让, 想要, or 希望.

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see examples for 想让 at bkrs: https://bkrs.info/slovo.php?ch=%E6%83%B3%E8%AE%A9 and iciba: http://www.iciba.com/%E6%83%B3%E8%AE%A9: 想让某人/事物做某事 want sb./sth. to do sth. (approx.= want to cause sb to do sth.) it would seem to observers that, 让 reinforces wish,(wish is to cause action), redundancy not uncommon phenomenon in Chinese,

想 has many meanings besides (6) 希望, 想要 hope; want 料想; 猜想 [anticipate] 余读孔氏书, 想见其本人 among 1-12 at bkrs, so that 让 seems to clarify the meaning as "want"

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I'd like to add some points: I think "want" should,more accurately, be translated as"想要",here are some examples:

  • Do you want a cup of tea? 你想要一杯茶吗?

  • What on earth do you want me to do? 你究竟想要/想让我做什么?

So in my view,when "want" followed by a noun phrase,(like "want sth")it can only be translated as "想要", when followed by an action(like "want to do sth/want sb to do sth),it can be translated as both “想要” and “想让”,and here “要” and “让” function the same.

With that being said,in colloquial conversations,we may also omit “要” sometimes,like “你想我给你打电话吗?” “你想我帮你些什么?”(What do you want me to help with?) It can be understood as well,but i won't suggest you speak in this way if you are not very fluent in speaking Chinese or have a broad accent.

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