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In English, the -ing form of verb performs multiple semantic functions; one of those functions is "the action of X".

In Japanese, the -no morpheme performs multiple semantic functions, and one of those functions is also "the action of X".

泳ぐは楽しい
oyogu-no-ha tanosi-i
swim-NO-TOP be.fun-PLAIN
"Swimming is fun"

Is there a good term for this semantic function of "the action of X" which can be used in comparative linguistics?

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    There is gerund in many languages, and also the more general nomen actionis, "noun of action", which is a noun denoting "the act/process of x-ing", created by adding an affix to a verbal stem. – Cerberus Jan 4 '14 at 2:00
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    Other languages suchs as Georgian and Mongolian use the term verbal noun. – hippietrail Jan 4 '14 at 2:32
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    Thanks -- "gerund" to me felt like it has been corrupted too much by English education; it feels like a specific verb conjugation rather than a semantic concept. However the "nomen actionis"/"action noun"/"noun of action" stuff is not bad. "Verbal noun" sounds like a syntactic concept to me (even if it's the cast that anything with that syntax is only able to take on a single semantics, it still seems like the wrong way to say it). – Darius Jahandarie Jan 4 '14 at 2:51
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    @DariusJahandarie Don't worry, i thought it was totally clear you're looking for the semantic rather than the syntactic function of -no here. Syntactically, -no definitely seems to be some kind of nominaliser. Action nominalizer doesn't work as a description of its semantic function, really, since noun is an inherently syntactic notion - it has no status semantically. – P Elliott Jan 4 '14 at 12:46
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    Gerund is no way a noun, it has verbal categories of voice (active/passive - writing vs. being written) and perfect/non-perfect (writing vs. having written and being written vs. having been written). Gerund is a verbal, an impersonal form of the verb. – Yellow Sky Jan 4 '14 at 15:36

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