Questions tagged [verbs]

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

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18
votes
6answers
6k views

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 ...
12
votes
14answers
3k 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
889 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, ...
9
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
321 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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 #...
4
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
398 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
525 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
483 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
275 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
997 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
103 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
738 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
487 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
890 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
651 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
469 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
314 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
52 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
267 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
110 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 ...