Questions tagged [verbs]

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

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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 ...
13
votes
3answers
586 views

Do Spanish speakers prefer certain words for certain aspects, like in Russian?

In an effort to clearly delineate durar and tardar to my Spanish students, I have been searching for some usage notes and I was not satisfied with anything I found. Instead, I was wondering if these ...
1
vote
1answer
463 views

Why do languages with extensive verb cross-referencing morphology require less overt marking for embedding than other languages do?

Conlanging is my hobby, and I would like to think more creatively about embedding. Since nature is always more inventive than any hobbyist can be, I've been reading about embedding in natural ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Suppletion vs. missing verb forms

Japanese is famous for its very few irregular verbs, but there are some cases where verb-forms are missing and other verbs/adjectives are used instead. For example, (in standard Japanese) the verb ある ...
11
votes
9answers
4k views

Are there languages with a totally regular conjugation for “to be” outside Quechua?

I recently noticed that most languages have an irregular conjugation for the verb To be. I say almost because I don't know all languages, but the ones I've seen all have some irregularity sooner or ...
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 ...
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 ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there any non-Indo-European languages with go-periphrasis?

Some Indo-European languages have a construction called go-periphrasis, by which some form of the verb go is used in conjunction with the main verb to mark tense. Most languages that have this feature ...
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 ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

How much is known about verb regularization rates?

According to this abstract, published in 2007, "the half-life of an irregular verb scales as the square root of its usage frequency: a verb that is 100 times less frequent regularizes 10 times as fast....
2
votes
1answer
75 views

How to characterise set/assign-from/to

If I want to talk about moving information, I can use verbs "set" or "assign" in combination with nouns referring to source and target information containers, right? My intuition/instinct is to ...
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, ...
3
votes
1answer
419 views

Which kinds of participle does Albanian have?

There are many kinds of participles. English has two kinds, past participles (eaten) and present participles (eating). The Wikipedia article on the Albanian language doesn't cover as much as many ...
11
votes
4answers
617 views

Hierarchy of morphology, auxiliaries, and suppletion of verbal accidents?

I would like to make a hierarchy of verbal accidents that would have the following features. For any two accidents in the hierarchy, if a language marks only one of them by lexical suppletion, it ...
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 ...
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 ...

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