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6 Comments

  • Interesting stuff, thanks.

    Children do a lot of this conversion when they’re about 3 or 4 with lots of references in acquisition books to things like “I’ve jammed my bread” or (more like using derivational morphology than conversion, I suppose) “It’s very nighty” (talking about darkness). My own kids have started doing weird things with “versus”, so they make it into a verb and ask things like “Who are England versing tonight?”. Maybe it’s just a form of linguistic creativity which is common to us as a species.

  • Great reading, Jonathan. You’ve certainly made me look out for such verbing. In India, especially Gujarat,I ‘ve heard people say (in a mixture of English and Gujarati): ‘We Sumoed to several parts of Gujarat’; a Sumo (Tata Sumo) is a car, a four wheel drive, which can take in about eight passengers. So people hire a Sumo when they travel in large family groups to tourist spots. Intrigued? I certainly was ,when I heard it.

  • I got here Googling for the word “sedentation.” (There. You have a nouned verb and a verbed noun in a single sentence.) If derivational morphology produces a useful, communicative result, I’m in favor. Although, I don’t think you can use morphed words in Scrabble.

  • i find it easier… and suspect that many language learners may also find it easier… to think like Hoey, and think of words acquiring grammatical functions in context… (rather than of words having a priori membership of any word class)… only corpus concordances can tell us which wordforms are more frequently used in which contexts/phraseologies, and therefore which functions they most frequently acquire… ?