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14

This is a specific subtype of exocentric compound. An exocentric compound is one which doesn't inherit the type of either of its constituents: a scarecrow is neither a type of crow nor a type of scaring. (The opposite is an endocentric compound, which does: e.g. a blackbird is a type of bird.) There are many types of exocentric compound, and AFAIK there isn'...


8

There are actually several of these words in English: "rattlesnake", "crybaby", "scatterbrain", "killjoy", "tattletale", "tumbleweed", etc. They are sometimes called "flat compounds". Notably, some of them combine a verb with its object (a "turncoat" is a person who turns their ...


8

Not really. "Participle" can be defined pretty reliably as "an inflected form of a verb that acts as an adjective". But the line between a participle and any other adjective derived from a verb is fairly arbitrary: there's no obvious descriptive reason why -tus adjectives in Latin are "participles" and -τος adjectives in Greek ...


7

Historical accident. Roman (and Ancient Greek) grammarians seem to have thought of verb paradigms somewhat like noun paradigms: the forms of puella "girl" are puella, puellae, etc, and the forms of amō "love" are amō, amās, etc. Rather than listing out all the forms, you can refer to the whole paradigm by its first element: the nominative ...


6

More theory than history for you, but one take on it: Language evolution is an eternal tug-of-war between ease of articulation and information density. We want to say things quickly and learn how to say them easily, but we also want to be able to communicate with nuance. English is a fairly extreme case. For regular verbs, we have only two forms across all ...


6

Just as in biological evolution you end up with vestigial limbs, or organs that no longer serve any purpose, or body plans that seem wildly impractical (e.g. the recurrent laryngeal nerve, connecting the brain to the larynx but looping around the heart, or the fact the retina's blood supply is in front of it, not behind), so too do languages have ...


4

The systems employed in Germanic and Slavic result in part from inheritance from Proto-Indo-European, with changes (such as the loss of agreement in Norwegian, massive reduction in English, and the additional of gender in Russian via the past being formed with a nominal construction). We don't know for sure where verb agreement came from in the proto-...


4

I'm going to sum up what was said in the comments and maybe offer some conjecture, though I don't think it's possible to answer this question with great certainty. Latin did originally have a verb meaning 'to stand': stāre. Already in the Classical period, this verb also had the meaning 'to stay'. It's actually not the case that this verb was lost (in this ...


3

These are usually called 'converses' or 'relational antonyms'. There are more than five, actually there are quite a few because not only verbs, but also nouns and other parts of speech can be converses, e.g., "father-son", etc. (you can find a NON-EXHAUSTIVE list here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converse_(semantics)). It is unlikely that you ...


3

The e -> ie and o -> ue stem-changing verbs are the product of the interaction between two different factors The first is the "breaking" of the Early Western Romance low-mid vowels /ɛ/ & /ɔ/ (which developed from the Latin short mid vowels /ĕ/ & /ŏ/) to /jɛ/ & /wɛ/ in stressed syllables followed by a merger of any remaining low-...


3

The stem of a verb is not, in general, the same as the infinitive, and in many languages, more than one principal part is needed to derive all forms of the verb This is in fact the case in Latin and Spanish Spanish comer has the stem com- in all forms, with the infinitive ending -er telling you which set of endings to apply. But when you look at a slightly ...


3

Bulgarian has no infinitive and uses 1p. sg. present indicative form (“I do”) for citation purposes: правя [ˈpravʲə] ‘to do’, but in fact it is “I do / I am doing” Arabic has no infinitives, either, and they use 3p. sg. masc. past (perfect) indicative for citation purposes: فَعَلَ /fa.ʕa.la/ ‘to do’, but in fact it is “he did / he has done” It doesn't ...


3

In traditional grammar a finite form of a verb is a fully specified verb form according to all verbal categories relevant to the specific language, like voice, aspect, mood, tense, person, or number. Non-finite verb forms are underspecified in this respect, leaving out some of the categories required for a finite verb form (typically tense, person and number)...


2

A comment to Anu Garg's A-Word-A-Day suggested that these might be known as 'tosspot' words, which has become a recurring theme on AWAD. The term is slowly spreading to blogs, but I don't know if it's made it into any 'serious' publications.


2

The state appears to be "[something] [verb:is] [adjective]", and the quality "[agent] [verb:is] [adjective]". Why don't they leave these out of the dictionary and just have the adjectives in the dictionary instead, and have "is" be in the dictionary as an infinitive verb? Just because that's how English syntax works, doesn't ...


2

As for the question asked in the title, "s/he flies" means that some animate referent flies. Cree only makes an animate versus inanimate distinction, and "s/he" is one way of neutralizing English "he" and "she". As for the question of infinitives, the answer depends on exactly what you mean by "infinitive", ...


2

A quick lookup finds the term cognitive verb in this reference (A. Fetzer, “And I Think That Is a Very Straightforward Way of Dealing With It”: The Communicative Function of Cognitive Verbs in Political Discourse). I think, this is a standard way to address these verbs. A more differentiated view with further partition in verbs of feeling, verbs of ...


1

It sounds like what you're looking for isn't an infinitive, but a citation form, or a set of principal parts. The "citation form" of a lemma is, basically, the form you look up in a dictionary, or the form you use when you want to talk about the lemma itself. In English, that's the same as the infinitive, but in Latin and Greek, it's the first ...


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