more verbing

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jul 7 00:19:00 UTC 1999


A little opaque (even for me). When I say you "verb verbs," I mean you
"create [verb] verbs" (out of whatever material), just like you "bake a
cake" out of material which is certainly not a cake to start with. Lots of
verbs have this "creative" function, in which you do not "do" something to
something else (prototypically transitive) but "cause" something to come
into being as a result of the activity.

If you "transitively" baked a cake, you would take a cake already made and
stick it in the oven. Not a good plan.



>Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>> PS: One might, by the way, treat "verb" as an "essentially" transitive form
>> in  that it has a "cognate object" (which, therefore, need not be overtly
>> expressed). That is, one "verbs verbs" (causes items to become verbs),
>> although this is slightly more complex than typical cognate verbs, although
>> some objects which appear with semantically "depleted" verbs (e.g., "I made
>> a fuss" versus "I fussed") are similar.
>OK, I'm lost.  Maybe I'm not understanding what you're saying here, but I
>thought one verbs nouns and adjectives, not verbs.
>And I'm trying to grok "franticking" - I envision pandemonium.
>Andrea Vine
>Sun Internet Mail Server i18n architect
>avine at
>Romanes eunt domus.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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