Jokers wild (was: Re: Some help with Latin)
|From:||Douglas Koller <laokou@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 19:59|
From: "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...>
> On 9/26/07, René Uittenbogaard <ruittenb@...> wrote:
> > Do many languages have a "wildcard" verb? I was struck by the Swahili
> > usage of _kupiga_ (to hit) in many idioms like e.g. _kupiga picha_ (to
> > take a picture) and _kupiga simu_ (to call by phone).
Chinese: da3 dian4hua4 (call on the phone, same expression)
da3 pai2: play cards/mahjong (though if you've seen mahjong played, this is not a reach)
> I don't know how many. Perhaps japanese suru qualifies?
I daresay. Back in "Douglas: The Japan Years," I remember reading an "o tempora,
o mores" article somewhere about how the young people were overextending the
use of this, coining such phrases as "kakumei suru" ("do revolution") and how
to the author's elder, more delicate sensibilities, this did not work. Japanese
may be the ur-example, since Chinese words get imported whole-hog as nouns and
you need some way to verbalize them.
I have heard it said that in the Southern US, one has one's picture made, as
opposed to taken. Cannot verify.
From: ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
> Maybe Spanish _hacer_....
> hace frio/calor 'it's cold/hot'
> hace 3 años que vivo aqui 'I've lived here for 3 years'
> 3 años hace... 'three years ago...'
I understand this as "hace tres años."
> hacer una foto 'take a picture' (IIRC)
The do/make verb, at least anecdotally, would seem to be the hands-down winner,
which is not a big imaginative leap.
faire un pique-nique
einen Spaziergang machen
make a decision (vs. "prendre une décision," though I *have* heard "take a
decision" over-pond and even recently on this side in places on the TeeVee.)
So, too, in Géarthnuns, where the verb is "dravnath." More often than not, this
is used to avoid "ljfhaslufh" (I believe there's a word for these ("sing a
song," and recently on the list "harp a harp"), but I don't remember what it
is). To wit:
The word for "play" is "íönsel"; the word for "game" is "íönsels." Hence, "to
play a game" would be "sí íönselsít íönsel (the "ljfhaslufh")," which,
though not necessarily ungrammatical (one can easily imagine a Géarthçins
child uttering this), is stylistically a faux pas. So, primary and secondary
school Géarthnuns teachers try to instill "sí íönselsít dravnath."
Idiomatically, "chau teshersaut dravnath" ("do the cat") means "tinkering
around the house," and "chö ngarebsöt dravnath" ("do the dog") means
"relaxing about the house."
But don't words usually have a catch-all, open class for new entries into the
language? New "quality" nouns in English take "-ness" ("connectedness") unless
a ready parallel is available for "-dom," "-hood," "-ty" et al. (though you
might hear (eg.) "human-ness" as an emphatic contrast to "humanity."). Newly
introduced verbs in the Romancelangs are "-er,", "-ar," "-are" in French,
Spanish, and Italian, respectively (readily parallel caveat applies). New verbs
in the Germanic langs are weak. And so on.