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Questions tagged [verbs]

Part of speech whose members indicate an action or a state of being.

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20 votes
6 answers
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What's the global difference between nouns and verbs?

Is there a way to distinguish nouns and verbs that applies to all languages? This problem has been occupying my mind for some time now. I'm not quite sure how to approach this question, so I'll just ...
Joe's user avatar
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13 votes
14 answers
5k views

Languages with multiple forms of the verb "to be"

Many languages have multiple forms of the verb "to be". For example, Spanish has ser and estar, while Nepali has हो and छ. Some other examples are given in this nice blog post. My question is: what ...
Jimeree's user avatar
  • 233
29 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why do English verbs inflect so little, especially in regard to "person"?

Most Indo-European languages have verbs which endings change according to the person. I made a table with the most common (and close) languages and focussed on the category of person and the present ...
Alenanno's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is it possible to analyse Māori grammar without contrasting nouns and verbs?

In order to prepare myself for a glorious sports event this weekend, I've bought and read a book about Māori. If my sources are to be believed, Māori is relatively close to other Polynesian languages, ...
JPP's user avatar
  • 720
10 votes
5 answers
9k views

What is the difference between a copula and a transitive verb?

I can only speak from an English perspective. Be seems to me to be a transitive verb, when joining a subject and an object, yet it is described as a copula. What I mean is The bullseye is the ...
Matt Ellen's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
10k views

Is a language possible without verbs or without nouns?

Is a language without nouns possible? And another one without verbs? And other ones without adjectives or adverbs? Is there some real examples? (In preference: non-constructed languages, because ...
Quidam's user avatar
  • 632
7 votes
2 answers
700 views

Why can verbal roots in PIE only contain the vowel e?

Verbal roots of PIE are generally reconstructed as (C5) (C3) C1 e C2 (C4) (C6); with certain phonetical restrictions, especially on the outmost consonants. I wonder why only "e" should be allowed as ...
zwiebel's user avatar
  • 1,030
7 votes
7 answers
630 views

Do other languages distinguish the verbs "to drink" when talking about alcohol?

It's interesting that English uses the verb "to drink" intransitively exclusively when talking about alcohol, as in: I drink a lot. But transitively when talking about anything else, as in: I ...
Lou's user avatar
  • 1,280
6 votes
1 answer
479 views

(A)Telicity & Events

Dowty's (1979) classified predicates into: 1. States 'the woord is burning' ---Atelic 2. Activities 'Mary pushed the cart' ---Atelic 3. Accomplishments 'Mary melted the chocolate' ---Telic 4. ...
Tsutsu's user avatar
  • 1,068
4 votes
3 answers
5k views

Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them

I know what ergative verb is - Consider the following sentences - I opened the door. The door was opened (by me). The door opened. The verb open is a transitive verb in sentence #1, and sentence #...
Man_From_India's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
4k views

English words which are both verbs and adjectives

A question about UI design led me to speculate about English words which are both a verb and an adjective. My answer to the question addresses this linguistics issue as the root of the UI issue. I ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 1,296
3 votes
3 answers
489 views

Verb pairs similar to "buy" and "sell"?

"buy" and "sell" that are basically the same action/event, but reverse arguments (subject of one, the object of the other): X sold his car to Y. Y bought a car from X. Is there a any special name ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 141
0 votes
2 answers
447 views

Stolen, part of speech

I've checked several dictionaries for the word "stolen" only to find it labeled a verb. Virtually all of the examples sentences use it in a manner that I would have considered an adjective: "The ...
user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
585 views

Are there any studies on some English passive verb constructions currently being replaced by new intransitive senses?

In the past couple of years I've noticed a new trend in younger generations of native English speakers, at least in American English and Australian English. But I can't find it discussed anywhere on ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
1k views

Is there a term for the syntax difference between English "I like you" and Spanish "Tú me gustas"?

English and Spanish each have one main verb for "to like". In English "to like", the grammatical subject must be the one doing the appreciating: I like her. But with Spanish "gustar", the person ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
18k views

What is the past tense of 'yeet'?

Yeet (/ji:t/) is a recently coined verb in English that seems to have taken on the characteristics of a strong verb, as seen in this hilarious urban dictionary definition. In English, the strong ...
ⰲⱁⰴⰰ's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is there a name for the type of word that the word, “scarecrow,” is? (a transitive verb conjoined with its object)

The English word, “scarecrow,” spontaneously came to mind the other day, and I realized just how similar this word is to other words and phrases in other languages. For example, there are many ...
dry_apricot_09's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Stable words in the Indo-European language family

(I am not a linguist, so I don't know proper terminology) When studying Spanish and French, I quickly learned that many very common verbs have irregular forms; the reason given was that common usage ...
Arcanus's user avatar
  • 251
10 votes
2 answers
617 views

Is there a strong case for the existence of languages that lack a clear morpho-syntactic distinction between nouns and verbs?

Is there a strong case for the existence of languages that lack a clear morpho-syntactic distinction between nouns and verbs? If so, what would be an example of a phrase structure for a uniclausal ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do most languages have the same basic verb tenses?

I am a student learning languages who is interested in linguistics! In trying to keep myself organized with my own study sheets, I wanted to know, do all languages have the same basic verb tenses? I'm ...
q-compute's user avatar
  • 211
10 votes
4 answers
510 views

Origin of *-k- "extension" in (aorist of) some IE verbs?

In Greek, the PIE verbal roots *dheh1 'put' or 'do', *Hieh1 'throw', and *deh3 'give' show up with an unexpected -k- in some aorist forms: ἔθηκα, ἧκα, ἔδωκα. In Latin, the reflexes of the first two ...
TKR's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
729 views

Unaugmented contract imperfect in Ancient Greek?

Since unaugmented forms are ancient verbal forms (found by example in Homer), older than the augmented ones, and since vowels contraction is still a "work in progress" at homeric times and will be ...
suizokukan's user avatar
  • 2,007
8 votes
2 answers
515 views

Why is the verb "to need" and "to observe" always imperfective in Slavic languages?

I have been reading into Balto-Slavic languages and come across a problem. "To need" is always imperfective. If I use the imperfective past verb, "to need," I am going to be still, presently needing ...
Anon's user avatar
  • 81
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there any languages with minimal distinctions between the noun and verb categories?

Are there any languages in which the, largely Indo-European/PIE, and more compartmentalized parts-of-speech system don't work very well? In particular, I am wondering if there are any languages in ...
Morella Almånd's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Difference Phrasal Verb, Prepositional Verb and Prepositional Phrasal Verb

I am not sure how one can see the difference between these three. I can give an example of the three - respectively come in, went into and got along without - but I don't know why these are what they ...
Bram Vanroy's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
646 views

Why are the plural and singular first person forms of the verb "go" so different in the Romance languages?

In many Romance languages, the first person plural and singular forms are completely different: French (aller): je vais, nous allons Italian (andare): io vado, noi andiamo Catalan (anar): jo vaig, ...
terdon's user avatar
  • 335
7 votes
3 answers
744 views

Are there any languages where verbs in the past form are used with the future tense?

I have learned that in the Galician Ukrainian dialect the verbs in past tense are used in the future. Are there any other languages with the same structure? For example: "Будеш з нами їв?" = ...
Kurovsky's user avatar
  • 173
6 votes
0 answers
129 views

What currency does the term "flip sense verb" have in linguistics?

In a recent comment on the question Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them, jlawler introduced a term I had not previously encountered: The rose smells good is completely different; this ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
6 votes
1 answer
257 views

What is the concept of verb agreement with passive-active level in Hebrew?

In this Duolingo discussion, 'S.Liebermann' mentions that in Hebrew and Arabic, "the verb needs to agree with the level of passive/active" and "Hebrew has 7 degrees of passive/active, while Arabic has ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
829 views

What is the maximum number of forms a (modern) Japanese verb can take?

Recently I've begun to wonder how many possible forms can be made from a single Japanese verb. I asked a similar question first on the Japanese Language & Usage site, where I received some ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
5 votes
3 answers
6k views

German is SOV: should it not have been "Ich ein Berliner bin"?

German is typically described as a Subject-Object-Verb language. For former American President Kennedy's mistake to be grammatical (i.e. without the indefinite article "ein"), why should it not have ...
Lucas's user avatar
  • 667
4 votes
1 answer
636 views

Are there languages without non-finite verb forms at all?

This is inspired by the comments to this answer: Are there languages without any non-finite verb forms, or almost without any non-finite verb forms? Examples of such languages are welcome!
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

What do "finite" and "non-finite" mean in linguistics?

What do "finite" and "non-finite" mean in linguistics? I know that they occur in other languages and in some cases not only in verbs.
condor12's user avatar
  • 203
4 votes
3 answers
683 views

Forming an imperative mood by using other grammatical moods or aspects across the languages

I'm looking for some comparative analysis that would indicate how imperative meaning can be built in various languages by using grammatical moods other than imperative. The reason is that in many ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
883 views

Why does it appear certain Georgian verbs take preverbs in present forms?

Georgian verbal morphology includes a concept called a preverb, which has several functions compounded into one morpheme: distinguishes present (without preverb) from future (with preverb) adds ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
4 votes
1 answer
444 views

Why is "speak" a class 4 strong verb?

I've been trying to understand the how strong verbs in Germanic languages work, and reading the Wikipedia article I understand that class 4 strong verbs originated from, in PIE, vowel + a sonorant (m, ...
osbdpspsno's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
163 views

Why is the future tense almost completely regular in Portuguese?

In Portuguese (Br, and I think Pt too), the future tense of a verb can be created by taking its infinitive, and adding a suffix depending on the subject, e.g.: to think -> pensar I will think -> ...
RLanguage's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
78 views

Derivation of Morpheme for "Raising" in NACLO Problem

The Problem The Solution Partial Explanation chak appears in both (11) and (12), both of which are about catching. It doesn't appear anywhere else, so we can assume it is some form of "catching&...
MeltedStatementRecognizing's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
74 views

Why do so many grammars divide a clause into Subject and Verb instead of Subject and Predicative?

I used to start learning a few languages, admittingly my interest ,stamina and brain force didn't last for more than a couple of days each. Nethertheless, I noticed , that the different grammars ...
Abdul Al Hazred's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
85 views

By what mechanism do `want` and `know` fail to form commands?

Verbs like want and know seem to resist being used in imperative constructions. In particular, it does not seem possible to use them to command people to change their mind about what they want or to ...
Greg Nisbet's user avatar
  • 1,288
0 votes
1 answer
181 views

Do other languages than English have verbals ,too?

As I understand it, verbals are nouns,adjectives and adverbs which are derived from verbs. I don't understand if a verbal is indeed one of the three parts of speeches mentioned or a part of speech of ...
Abdul Al Hazred's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
222 views

What sort of "root" patterns do languages have that don't have infinitive verbs?

I am trying to gather the "base" form of verbs across languages. The form that is used to generate all the other various verb forms. But it seems some languages don't have infinitive forms ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 4,340