Is there an accepted name for a derivational process applied to a verb which conveys the meaning "feign or pretend to do sth".

As a corollary, is anyone aware of any languages (especially non-polysynthetic ones) that possess such a derivational process (e.g. using an affix)?

I do know of one already, Iñupiatun Eskimo, in which the affix -ŋŋuaq- does this, cf. the full verb stem piŋŋuaq- (Seiler 2012: s.vv.):

Qichaq atuŋŋuaqtuq.

Qichaq pretends to sing.

However, Iñupiatun Eskimo has such a huge number of derivational affixes that it is a different kind of animal to less extremely polysynthetic languages.

Reference: Seiler, Wolf A. 2012. Iñupiatun Eskimo Dictionary (Language and Culture Documentation and Description 16). SIL International.

  • 3
    This is one of the functions of the Dt stem in at least Biblical Hebrew, I can have a look later for the technical term used in the relevant reference grammar.
    – Keelan
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


As I wrote in a comment, this is one of the functions of the Biblical Hebrew Dt (hitpael) stem, but the two reference grammars I had a look at do not agree on terminology:

  • Waltke and O'Connor (An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, §26.2f):

    The estimative-declarative reflexive is the counterpart to the Piel's use to esteem someone as in a state or to declare someone as existing in a state; the Hithpael may denote esteeming or presenting oneself in a state, sometimes without regard to the question of truthfulness.

  • Joüon and Muraoka (A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew2, §53i):

    [The hitpael] sometimes has the "simulating" nuance of to disguise oneself as or to show oneself (truly or falsely) to be such and such.

Examples (taken from both) include pretending to be ill (2 Samuel 13:5,6), feigning to be a mourner (2 Samuel 14:2); acting like a drunkard (1 Samuel 1:14); pretending to be rich (Proverbs 13:7).

So we have the terms "estimative-declarative reflexive" and "simulating nuance". Perhaps scholars of this language don't need a widespread term because the meaning is rather transparent (it is a combination of that of the factitive/declarative D stem and the reflexive t infix).


I recently found some literature on this function in Wolof referred to as the "pretendive" (though I'm not sure how standard a term that is):

  • Torrence, Harold. 2013. The Clause Structure of Wolof: Insights Into the Left Periphery (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 198). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Tamba, Khady. 2014. Clausal nominalization in Wolof. PhD thesis, University of Kansas.

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