Verbing questions

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu May 3 23:21:00 UTC 2001

In a message dated 05/02/2001 6:56:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
lists at MCFEDRIES.COM writes:

> 1. What is the oldest verbed noun that has survived into the present day?

The Nostratic Hypothesis is that roughly 10 to 15 thousand years ago there 
existed  the "Nostratic" language or language family which subsequently split 
into Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic (the Semitic and Hamitic languages), and 
several others.

>From URL, which contains a 
selection from the Illyich-Svytich Dictionary of Nostratic Roots, we take at 

<begin quote>

*bulV "moist sediment, turbidity":
Afro-Asiatic *b(w)l "moist, to moisten; to mix, confuse" 

? Indo-European *bhl-endh- "turbid, to mix" 

Altaic *bulV "turbidity, to muddle, to mix"

Afro-Asiatic *b(w)l "moist, to moisten; to mix, confuse" 
Semit. *bl- (reduplicated *blbl, *bll): 

Arab. <bll> "to moisten, to mix" 
(with further semantic development intens. 
<blbl> "to set into motion, to throw into disorder", 

cf. Tigrinya <bälbälä> "to worry, to confuse"); 

OSArab. (Sab.) <bll> "to water, to moisten"; 

Syr. <bll> "to mix, to confuse, to moisten", 

OHebr. <bll> "to mix"; 

Akk. <bll> "to mix, to sprinkle". 

An older form is maintained in Arab. <bwl> "to urinate" 

OEgypt. <b3j> (< *blj) "be wet (with sweat)" 

Berb.: Tuareg <b at lulu> (intens.) "be very wet" (suggests *bwl) 

Cf. Calice 60, Soden AW 97, Ges. 101, Leslau EContr. 13. 

In Semitic, the meanings "to mix (fluids)" 
and "to moisten, wet" are represented; 

in Egyptian and Berber only the latter meaning.

? Indo-European bhl-endh- "turbid, to mix"

OE <blandan>, 

OHG <blantan> "to blend" 

Lith. <ble,~sti> 
(1sg. <blendz^iù>) "to add flour to food", 
<blandùs> "turbid, lumpy (of soup)"; 

OCS <ble,do,> "to be lost" 

Cf. Pok. 157-158. 
Here, with further semantic development 
the forms with the meaning "blind, of poor sight" (<-- "turbid"): 
Gmc. *Blindaz "blind" etc. (see Graenk. 47-48); 
in spite of Dolgopol'skij ASb. 57-58, 
they are not connected with Nostr. *balV- "blind". 
IE *bhlendh- is probably a suffixed extension of lost *bhel-. 

Altaic *bulV "turbidity, to muddle, to mix"
Tur. *bulGa- "to mix, muddle": 

OTur. (Yenis.) <bulGa-> ("to worry"); 

Yakut. <bula:->/<byla:->; 

OUigh. <bulGa-> ("to be thrown into confusion"), 

Uigh. <bulGa->, 

Karakalpak, Kazakh, Nogai <bylGa-> (delabialized), 

OKipchak (Cum.) <bulGa->; 

Turkmen, Azeri, Turkish <bula-> (< *bulGa-). 

We have a variant *bulka- in OUigh. <bulqa->, 

Chuvash <pa*lxan-> 
(refl. "to become turbid [Russ: mutit'sja]"). 

In Tur. we have old formations with a suffix -Ga- (-ka-). 

Mong. *bul-: 

Lit.Mong. <bul-ai> "dirty, filthy", 
<bulaNgir> "turbid, unclean", 

Xalxa <bulai> "foul, filthy"; 

Lit.Oyrat <bulaNggir> "turbid", 

Kalmyk <bulä:> "dirty", 

OMong. (Zimi) <bula> "dirtied" 

Tung.: Evenk., Even. <bulä:> (< *bulai) "moor, morass" 

Cf. Ramstedt JSFOu 28(3), 13, Egor. 147, Ramstedt KW 59, Zirni 93. 
The original meaning was "turbidity, turbid", 
whence (Tur.) "to muddle" --> "to mix".
Traces of the *u- vocalism are preserved in Altaic, 
and can be found in AA (*w). 
The original meaning "moist sediment" developed in AA 
in two different directions 
"wet, moisten" and "mix fluids" --> "mix, confuse". 

<end quote>

If you choose the accept the above as plausible, then it would appear that 
the Nostratic noun *bulV "moist sediment, turbidity" was verbed sometime 
before Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European split off from Nostratic, which would 
be a minimum of five thousand years ago and perhaps as much as fifteen 
thousand years ago.

Of course if you do not choose to accept the Nostratic Hypothesis, then the 
above does not answer your question.  However, I suspect you will find some 
difficulty in finding earlier proposed instances of verbed nouns.

             - Jim Landau
               Systems Engineer
               FAA Technical Center (ACT-350/BCI)
               Atlantic City Airport NJ 08405 USA

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