Diminutivised Verbs


Senior Member
Good morning ladies & gentlemen, I must confess diminutives are my fetish in foreign languages. 😂 I bet most of us know quite a lot about diminutives in Slavic and Romance languages. I think they have the mot beautiful fleet of diminutives. But...there are diminutives of verbs, too. I think it's a lot rarer phenomenon. I know that from Slovak, not even from Czech. Maybe it exists in Hungarian but I was not able to recall any Hungarian verb. How about you can you remember any verbs formed from another verb. Those verbs are mostly used in children's talk. And yes, mostly by women, so... Thanks for your cooperation. Have a productive weekend. Encolpius from Prague (Czechia, EU, +17°C, humidity 92%)

Here are some examples from Slovak:

1.low intensity per se:hrabať ‘rake’ → hrabkať, škrabať ‘scratch’ → škrabkať
2. low intensity and repetitiveness:skákať ‘jump’ → skackať, klopať ‘knock’ → klopkať, zobať ‘peck’ → zobkať
3. leisureliness or comfortableness of the action, process, or state and/or usage in child or child-oriented language:
ležať ‘llie’ → ležkať, hrať sa ‘play’ → hrajkať sa, spať ‘sleep’ → spinkať
4.usage in child or child-oriented languagebežať ‘run’ → bežkať, plakať ‘cry/weep’ → plačkať
5.usage in child or child-oriented language with exclusively child or child-oriented verbal bases:
papať ‘eat’ → papkať, hajať ‘sleep’ → hajkať, búvať ‘sleep’ → buvinkať, hačať (si) ‘sit (down)’ → hačkať (si)
6.usage in child or child-oriented language, but also in affectionate communication among adults or in polite requests:
ľahnúť si ‘lie down’ → ľažkať si, sadnúť si ‘sit down’ → sadkať si
  • In French:
    Faire dodo (to sleep, childish) < dormir (to sleep)
    (repetition of the first syllable)

    Clignoter (to flash, to flicker) < cligner (to blink, to wink)
    (addition of the diminutive suffix -ot)

    Voleter (to flit, to flutter) < voler (to fly)
    (addition of the diminutive suffix -et)

    Chantonner (to hum, to sing to oneself) < chanter (to sing)
    (addition of the diminutive suffix -onn)

    Mâchouiller (to gnaw) < mâcher (to chew)
    (addition of the diminutive suffix -ouill)
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    How about you can you remember any verbs formed from another verb.
    In Spanish, the first one that came to my mind was corretear from the verb correr (to run) plus the iterative suffix -ear (with an epenthetic <t>). Not sure if it can be considered a diminutive though. Maybe juguetear (toy -noun- plus suffix -ear) may serve better as a diminutive example because juguete is already a lexicalized diminutive (of juego). So from juego, you get the verb jugar and from juguete, juguetear although you can jugar with a juguete...
    Those verbs are called evaluative verbs.
    In Italian there are plenty of different suffixes or prefixes. Here is an abstract about these verbs by Nicola Grandi University of New York:
    "A sample of approximately 300 Italian complex verbs (that is, verbs containing a derivational suffix) that can be traced back to simple verbs and that have been extracted from two dictionaries of contemporary Italian (GRADIT edited by Tullio De Mauro and DISC edited by Francesco Sabatini and Vittorio Coletti). Data presented in this paper are based on the analysis of a representative sub-set of approximately 150 complex verbs and 80 simple verbs, a sample of which is listed in (3) and (4) respectively (for the whole list, see the appendix, at the end of the article)
    3) Base verbs: (4) Evaluative verbs:
    beccare ‘to peck’ becchettare, beccolare, beccuzzare, sbecchettare
    ‘to mock, to trick’ beffeggiare, sbeffeggiare
    bere ‘to drink’ bevacchiare, bevazzare, bevicchiare, bevucchiare sbevacchiare, sbevazzare, sbevicchiare,sbevucchiare
    ‘to whistle’ fischiettare
    giocare ‘to play’ giocherellare, giochicchiare
    ‘to beat’ picchierellare, picchiettare
    ‘to laugh’ ridacchiare
    ‘to jump’ saltellare, salterellare, salticchiare
    ‘to explode’ scoppiettare
    ‘to write’ scribacchiare, scrivacchiare, scrivicchiare,scrivucchiare
    ‘to spit’ sputacchiare, sputazzare
    ‘to live’ vivacchiare, vivicchiare, vivucchiare
    ‘to fly’ volacchiare, volicchiare, svolacchiare, svolazzare
    Coming back to complex verbs the following evaluative suffixes can be extracted from them:

    They represent the inventory of verbal evaluative suffixes attested in contemporary Italian with varying degrees of productivity and frequency!.
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    Greek diminutivised (or evaluative thanks @Olaszinhok) verbs have an interesting construction. They're not formed with a suffix but they're compounds which combine verbs with an adjective as first member, or a specific verb as second member, thus:
    -Combined with the first member «κουτσο-» [kut̠͡s̠o̞-] < oblique of adj. «κουτσός» [kuˈt̠͡s̠o̞s̠] --> crippled, lame, describes meager manner: «Κουτσοδιαβάζω» [kut̠͡s̠o̞ðʝaˈvaz̠o̞] --> to barely read.
    -Combined with the first member «ψευτο-» [p͡s̠e̞ft̠o̞-] < oblique of adj. «ψεύτης» [ˈp͡s̠e̞ft̠is̠] --> liar < Koine adj. «ψεύστης» /ˈp͡seu̯stɛːs/ --> liar, a deverbal from the v. «ψεύδω» /ˈp͡seu̯dɔː/, describes low intensity: «Ψευτοτρώω» [p͡s̠e̞ft̠o̞ˈt̠ɾo̞.o̞] --> to nibble, snack on something, peck at food.
    -Combined with the first member «ψιλο-» [p͡s̠ilo̞-] < oblique of adj. «ψιλός» [p͡s̠iˈlo̞s̠] --> thin, fine < Classical adj. «ψῑλός» /p͡siːˈlos/ --> bald, bare, smooth, exposed (of substrate origin), signifies insignificance, bare minimum: «Ψιλοκοιμάμαι» [p͡s̠ilo̞ciˈmame̞] --> to doze off, drowse.
    -Compound of first member an adjective with the verb «φέρνω» [ˈfe̞ɾno̞] --> bring, cause, introduce < Classical v. «φέρω» /ˈpʰerɔː/ as second member, describes reduction, lessening: «Γλυκοφέρνω» [ɣliko̞ˈfe̞ɾno̞] --> to be not exactly beautiful/handsome but likeable (lit. sweet).
    Wow, it's really amazing there are so many Italian examples. That's why I'm surprised not so many Spanish ones.
    That's why I'm surprised not so many Spanish ones.
    I guess the problem here is that I'm failing to fully understand the concept. For example, would vivificar be a diminutive verb from vivir (even though the former came directly from Latin vīvificāre)?
    Vivir (even though the former came directly from Latin vīvificāre)?
    the corresponding Italian verb is vivere and the evalutive verbs are:

    vìvere = vivacchiare, vivicchiare, vivucchiare, there's no vivificare in here.
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    I'm thinking that I was thinking about suffixes as diminutives are suffixes in Spanish, but in relation with verbs, I should think about prefixes in order to get what we call verbos derivados (that I don't associate with diminutives... did I say I did't get yet the intended concept):retirar, sobrevivir, subvalorar, desanimar, encaminar, contrarrestar, traspasar, anteponer, parafrasear, socavar...
    I'm thinking that I was thinking about suffixes as diminutives are suffixes in Spanish, but in relation with verbs,
    Evaluative verbs are related to suffixes (or the unique Italian prefix s- as in sbeffeggiare or sbevazzare,) conveying the meaning of diminutives, augmentatives, pejorative terms and terms of endearment. Derivative verbs are something different, in my opinion.
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    He encontrado esto:
    Los sistemas verbales son extremadamente variados y complejos y presentan inesperadas divergencias incluso entre lenguas afines. En este ámbito de las asimetrías verbales del italiano y el español hasta ahora han sido poco estudiados los verbos apreciativos, es decir, los deverbales originados, sin cambio categorial, de la adición de ciertos sufijos a determinadas bases verbales, como es el caso de canturrear / canticchiare, lloriquear / piagnucolare, etc. Este es el tema que se analiza en este trabajo, en el que estudiamos las diferencias cuantitativas y cualitativas que se dan entre los verbos apreciativos del español y los del italiano.

    Verbal systems are extremely varied and complex, with unexpected divergences even among related languages. Until now, the field of Italian-Spanish verbal asymmetries has almost ignored evaluative verbs, that is, those deverbals originated, without change of category, from the addition of certain suffixes to certain verbal bases such as canturrear / canticchiare, lloriquear / piagnucolare, etc. This paper analyzes the quantitative and qualitative differences between Spanish and Italian evaluative verbs.

    idUS - Los verbos apreciativos en italiano y en español
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    Spanish does have those verbs but there are fewer and Spanish has far fewer suffixes according to the text above.
    Yes, problem here is that the sufix, for me, is the verbal ending (-ar, -er or -ir) so the other suffixes become infixes and it's trickier for me to think about them but yes, there's that kind of verbs in Spanish too.
    In Catalan, one might consider these as evaluative with some kind of diminutive sense:

    -iss-, as in adormissar-se 'nod off'

    -uny-, as in fregunyar 'wash up a little'

    -uss-, as in menjussar 'eat little, eat unwillingly, nibble', mamussar '(a baby) suck reluctantly, out of habit'

    The -ot- suffix can also be seen as evaluative, often implying both diminutive and despective meanings. I can only think of it followed by another suffix, the usually frequentative -ej-. For instance, the last two examples above can also be said as menjotejar and mamotejar. Other examples would be:

    parlotejar 'speak for the sake of it', ballotejar 'dance from time to time in a ball', besotejar 'kiss several times', nevotejar 'snow a little', treballotejar 'work from time to time, in sporadic jobs', xerrotejar '(a baby) start to speak, (a little bird) start to tweet', etc.

    If we also add the suffix -ej- to suffixes above, we get some like:

    dormisquejar 'doze', plovisquejar 'drizzle'

    cantussejar ‘sing softly’, rentussejar ‘wash imperfectly’

    Looking at the Italian examples ago, these come to mind for Catalan:

    picar ‘to peck’
    espicossar ‘(birds, hens) to peck small grains, etc, from the ground’ < es-PIC-oss-ar​
    Prefix es- is common in Romance verbal derivation
    Suffix -oss-, like -uss- or -iss- but unlike -ass-, could be seen as diminutive

    beure ‘to drink’
    bevotejar ‘to drink often in small sips’ < BEV-ot-ej-ar​

    volar ‘to fly’
    voletejar ‘to fly to and fro’ < VOL-et-ej-ar​
    Here the suffix -et- could be regarded as diminutive
    esvoletegar ‘to beat the wings but not fly’ < es-VOL-et-eg-ar​
    Suffix -eg- is perhaps analogous from “bategar” ‘to beat’, itself an analogy from other verbs in -egar that come from Latin -ICARE (combregar < COMMUNICARE, carregar < CARRICARE, doblegar < DUPLICARE, etc)

    I wouldn’t consider vebrs like saltironar/saltironejar ‘to move in small jumps’ to be part of the group because they are mostly formed on the diminutive of the noun, not on the verb itself.

    salt “a jump” > saltiró “a small jump” > saltiron-(ej)-ar “do small jumps’​