borrowed verbs

Edith A Moravcsik edith at CSD.UWM.EDU
Fri Jan 3 20:10:13 UTC 2003

Could the Shipibo-Konibo -n- that, at Pilar Valenzuela reported, appears
in borrowed verbs be a denominal verbalizer? What lends some plausibility
to this suggestion is the following.

A fairly consistent crosslinguistic pattern of verb borrowing is that
verbs are borrowed "as if they were nouns"; that is, the source-language
verb acquires a denominal verbalizer in the borrowing language before it
is inflected. This is so EVEN if the foreign verb is NOT used as a noun in
the source language.

For example, Hungarian loan verbs generally include the derivational
affix -l which otherwise derives verbs from indigenous nouns:

loanverbs: leiszt-ol 'accomplish' (from German "leisten")
           zabra-l 'steal'  (from Russian "zabrat'")

denominal verbs: ebe'd-el 'dine'; from Hungarian "ebe'd" 'dinner'
                 fu~lel 'listen hard'; from Hungarian "fu~l" 'ear')

Another example is Russian:

loanverbs: fix-ova-t' to fix' (from English "fix")
           abstrahir-ova-t' 'to abstract' (from German "abstrahieren")

denominal verb: nakaz-ova-t' 'to command' (from Russian "nakaz"

Other languages follow the same pattern in spirit although not in letter:
instead of a derivational affix, they will use a light verb such as 'do'
to accompany the borrowed verb, where this 'do' otherwise occurs with
nouns to form a compound verb. This is so in Japanese ("su ru") and Korean

Japanese: operate su ru - from English "operate"
Korean: persuade hada - from English "persuade"

Modern Greek has both devices:

   kano drive "do drive" 'I drive' (from English "drive")
   drive-erno 'I drive" (from English "drive")

Some languages, such as French and German, are apparent examples: in these
languages, loan verbs can be "directly" inflected without an intervening
denominal verbalizer:

French: dribbler 'to dribble' (from English "to dribble")
German: managen 'to manage' (from English "to manage")

However, these languages can "zero-derive" verbs from indigenous nouns
and thus their verb-borrowing pattern is still consistent with their
denominal verbalizing pattern.

(For some additional examples and discussion, see Edith Moravcsik:
"Verb borrowing." _Wiener Linguistische Gazette_ 8, 1974, 3-30)

Edith M.

			 Edith A. Moravcsik
			 Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics
			 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
		         Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

			 E-mail: edith at
		         Telephone: (414) 229-6794 /office/
				    (414) 332-0141 /home/
		         Fax: (414) 229-2741


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