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Re: Linguistic term for ease of changing word-class (was: 'out-' affix in conlangs?)

From:Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Date:Sunday, August 24, 2008, 19:02
On Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 14:04, Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...> wrote:
>> Indonesian can have zero-derivation in >> colloquial speech-- surat can mean 'to write' >> or 'a letter', cinta 'love' can be noun or >> verb; but correctly, when used as verbs there >> ought to be a verbal prefix... I really suspect >> not many languages can do this as readily as >> English does. (German/Dutch and Romance lgs. >> come to mind). > > Swedish certainly can't. In order to use a word as > a verb you have to put a verbal ending on it, and > only the closed class of strong verbs have any > zero endings within their paradigm.
Similarly in German. I imagine pretty much any noun can be verbed by tacking on -en, but you would need an extra morpheme.
>> Sort of OT, but relevant to the question about >> Basque verbs-- IIRC the verbs that have their >> own synthetic conjugation (i.e. without the >> usual person+tense aux.) are a small and closed >> class, I think mostly intransitive. There's >> another productive (I think) class formed from >> NOUN + 'to do/make' (egin?); one that has stuck >> in my mind is 'to sneeze' (sneeze + egin? + >> aux). (My Basque grammar is one of the books in >> storage.......) > > The Semitic component of Yiddish vocabulary works > similarly IIRC, using a Semitic verbal noun + a > Germanic verb like 'be, have, do' rather than > tacking Germanic endings to Semitic verbs.
ISTR having read about the word "geganvet", meaning "stolen" and written gimel-`ayin-gimel-nun-bet-`ayin-tet, i.e. ge-gnb-et, with a Germanic prefix and suffix and a Semitic triliteral root -- spelled as in the original, rather than phonetically -- in the middle. (I've no idea how representative that is, though.) Cheers, -- Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>