Making nouns from verbs

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ancalimon, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. ancalimon Senior Member

    First of all, I hope I asked the question properly. :)

    In Turkish, xxxmek and xxxmak suffixes are the same as English "to xxx".

    When it's only xxxme or xxxma, it makes the verb definitive.

    For example:
    bilme: the knowing
    bilmeme: the not knowing.

    Example in sentence: Bilmememe neden oldun: You became the cause to my not knowing.

    Bil: know
    Bilme: not know , the knowing
    bimeme: the not knowing
    bilmemem: my not knowing
    bilmememe: to my not knowing

    As you can see "-me -ma suffix" is both the definite particle and when used twice on of them becomes the negator. It also means "do not"; for example "bilme! : do not know!"

    Is it possible the create these kind of nouns from verbs like this in your language?
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  2. arielipi Senior Member

    That is the exact thing in hebrew; it even takes the same form as the 'present' participate of they/he/she
    EDIT: It is for definitive of verb, not for negating; in general hebrew doesnt like the structure of suffixes/affixes/prefixes/etc and tends to keep words on their own.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  3. lingpil Senior Member

    German & Russian
    In German it's common to make a verb to a noun by the means of adding the definite neutrum article "das". It works with most verbs. But the meaning of such a noun can be somehow limited, though.
    wissen = to know; das Wissen = the knowledge ("usual" noun)
    reisen = to travel; das Reisen = the travelling (the process of travelling - rather unusual; the voyage = die Reise)
  4. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    ... which sometimes results in terrifying words such as: ememememe.
    Here's an example sentence: Kolundan yılanın zehrini ememememe rağmen hayatta kaldın. (You survived even though I wasn't able to to suck the serpent's venom out of your arm.)

    Thanks lingpil!
    Any chance you could comment on patterns to make nouns in Russian?
  5. lingpil Senior Member

    German & Russian
    There is a chance, if you can take some risk. ;)
    After a brief reflection it looks like there is a suffix (since Russian doesn't have articles) which can be used for this transformation. Most Russian verbs end in the infinitive with -ть. In at least some cases this suffix can be replaced with -ниe (niye) in order to make a noun.
    знaть (znat') = to know; знaниe (znaniye) = the knowledge
    cидeть (sidet') = to sit; cидeниe (sideniye) = the seat (like in a car or another mean of transport)
    But there seem to be also exceptions where this rule doesn't work without some differences.
    пyтeшecтвoвaть (puteshestvovat') = to travel; пyтeшecтвиe (puteshestviye) = the voyage
    Maybe there are some rules I don't know. All other Russian speakers can feel free to correct what I wrote above.
  6. caelum

    caelum Senior Member

    Northwestern Ontario
    Canadian English
    That may be the best real word I have ever seen.
  7. arielipi Senior Member

    Also in hebrew, the present participate form is sometimes also the actioner's name, for example:
    רץ ratz run(ning), can also be sprinter.
    הרץ can be:
    1. the sprinter
    2. [the one that is] the running.
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Idem ditto in Dutch...
  9. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    Take the verb directly and use it as a noun!

    e.g. 跑步是強身健體的良方。 Running is a good way to make you stronger.

    It does NOT work vice-versa, however:

    e.g. *我每天都會運動運動. *I sport every day.
  10. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    We can easily makes the nouns by transforming the final vowel into -i or leaving a final syllable out.

    hikidas-u = to draw
    hikidas-i = a drawer

    koros-u = to kill, to eliminate
    koros-i = murder, killing

    shirab-eru = to search
    shirab-e = searching, investigation

    When you want to make the verbs from nouns, all you have to do is add a single syllable ru(this way is mostly used as the colloquial) as in サボるsabo-ru (sabo=sabotage, meaning to skip[the class/school etc.]), テンパるtempa-ru (tenpa(i)=a Majong term, meaning to be confused).
  11. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Some Estonian examples:

    teadma = to know
    --> teadus = science
    --> teadmine = knowledge
    --> teadlane = scientist

    liikuma = to move
    --> liikumine = movement

    üürima = to investigate
    --> üürimine = research (noun)

    küsima = to ask
    --> küsimus = question

    rändama = to travel
    --> rändur = traveller

    laulma = to sing
    --> laulja* = singer
    --> lauljanna = (female) singer

    lugema = to read
    --> lugeja* = reader

    kirjutama = to write
    --> kirjanik = writer

    * the -ja suffix in closely related Finnish is mentioned in this thread as well
  12. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In Finnish, the most automatic way of making a verbal noun is to use the suffix -minen:

    puhua "speak", puhuminen "speaking, the act of speaking"

    There are many other suffixes by which nouns are derived from verbs, but they are more variable than -minen in their frequency, and they show more semantic divergence:

    ”to bribe” – lahjonta ”bribery”

    toimia ”to function” – toiminto ”function, operation”

    tulla ”come” – tulo ”coming, arrival”

    käyttää ”to use” – käytös ”behavior, conduct”

    pyhittää ”to sanctify” – pyhitys ”sanctification”

    olettaa ”to assume” – olettamus ”supposition, assumption”
  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In Portuguese the infinitive form of a verb can act as a noun, for exemple saber = to know = knowledge. However this usage, while possible in principle for any verb, is ordinarily limited to a small number of verbs, or else tends to sound literary or even contrived.
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I am beginning to wonder whether we are referring to the same thing. Turkish might be using a gerund, as in English, and that seems to be quite different from a regular noun: thinking is good =/= a thought is good.. I think the title ought to be 'Using verbs as nouns'. No?
  15. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    "thinking is good" = "thought is good" =/= "a thought is good"

    The difference as I see it is between a noun referring to the whole action or process ("thinking"/"thought") versus a noun referring to the conclusion or result of the action ("a thought"). The original question seemed to be asking about the first of these two kinds of noun, regardless of whether it is a gerund or a regular noun, but I may have misunderstood.
  16. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Good observation as for the 'a', but I am not sure the second sentence as such is OK, but I suppose you will know. However, thought is not the action, I'd say, more like the result. If you are right in saying that both thinking and 'thought' mean the same here, then you are right.

    But you can't always do that, I think: I can't stand him doing that, or - better maybe - I am ashamed about my not knowing (my lack of knowledge is not quite the same to me...).
  17. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    The uncountable noun thought (e.g., "Thought occurs in the mind") refers to the process, or at least that is one of its main meanings. For example, the American Heritage Dictionary has "the process of thinking" as its first definition of thought.

    However, thought and thinking are not completely interchangeable in every context: for example, you are much more likely to hear someone say "Thinking about the problem was difficult at first" than "Thought about the problem ...".

    The difference might be the following: thinking can easily refer to specific instances of thought ("Thinking about this problem ..."), whereas thought may be more commonly used in general statements ("Thought can be expressed with words"). The same may be true of many other pairs involving a gerund versus a less regular derived verbal noun.

    I don't see a difference between my not knowing and my lack of knowledge here. But in general, knowledge and knowing may not be completely interchangeable.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  18. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    I may say the same thing to French.
    pouvoir = to be able = the power
    devoir = to must = the homework
  19. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks for the comments. I must admit then that 'thought' can refer to the process.

    I think you are raising a very important point here: the use may be different, so that they are not completely interchangeable. I suppose that is what I was hinting at, or that I had a hunch about [if that is correct]: it is clear that the meanings are very similar, but they are used in a different way. I think that is not un-important, and that might be the difference between a gerund and a noun as well. QED, I'd say. Or what do you think?
  20. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    This does seem to be a major difference between gerunds and other types of verbal nouns, at least in some languages (such as English): gerunds in English can be used to nominalize any given instance of the verb -- for example, "It was difficult when I spoke to him" -> "Speaking to him was difficult for me" -- whereas other types of verbal nouns are usually not as flexible, either because their meaning has diverged, or because they are simply not used as frequently. For example, the sentence "I found speech to him difficult" is theoretically synonymous with "I found speaking to him difficult", but no one would utter the first sentence because the noun speech tends to be reserved for general statements about speaking ("Speech is a human capability") or for a specific type of speaking ("He made a speech to the audience").

    This is why I think it makes sense to call a gerund the "default" verbal noun (though there need not be only one gerund per verb in a language), as contrasted with other, more lexicalized verbal nouns ("lexicalized", because their meaning is not as strongly tied to the original verb: e.g. for example, many people wouldn't immediately realize that the noun strife is based on the verb strive).
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  21. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Ciao! A titolo di cuirosità ti rimando a questi collegamenti:'Italiano)/ In italiano. Per coloro che hanno maggiore facilità a leggere le parole in lingua inglese.

  22. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia

    Nouns may be derived regularly from all imperfective verbs (expect the verb "to be") with the addition of the suffix "-Vње", where the vowel depends on the class of the verb:

    копа - копање
    влече - влечење
    молчи - молчење

    These nouns are in essence gerunds, and correspond to English "-ing" nouns, or alternatively Turkish "-me/ma" nouns. They are also used in some places where English or Turkish would use an infinitive in the capacity of a noun, since Macedonian lacks an infinitive form.

    As for the perfective verbs, there is no regular gerund noun-formation pattern for them, because gerunds generally imply continuity, it seems, whereas perfective verbs are certainly not continuous. So, to form nouns with terminative/instantaneous meanings, verbs use a variety of suffixes (in addition to other types of alterations), but these are not gerunds. They are regular nouns, like English nouns ending with "-ation", "-ence", "-hood", "-ness", etc.
  23. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Not in Tagalog. Know- alam/ don't know- di alam or di batid/ the not knowing- kawalan ng kabatiran/my not knowing- kamangmangan ko./to my not knowing- sa kamangmangan ko.
  24. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Modern Greek forms deverbative nouns without a special pattern unfortunately, e.g:
    «Απελπίζω» [apelˈpizo] --> to despair > «απελπισία» [apelpiˈsi.] (fem.) --> despair (noun)
    «Εγκλείω» [eŋgˈlio] --> to confine, encarcerate > «εγκλεισμός» [eŋglizˈmos] (masc.) --> confinement, encarceration
    «Σύρω» [ˈsiɾo] --> to draw, trail > «σύρμα» [ˈsirma] (neut.) --> wire.
    The pattern is unpredictable, as arbitrary is the gender of the derived noun.
    The ancient articular infinitive (which played the role of a verbal noun in Classical Gr or expressed a substantive idea) has been replaced by a specific construction in the modern language which is formed by the articular imperfective aspect of the verb + neut. suffix «-ιμο» [-imo] < Classical suffix «-ιμος, -ιμη, -ιμον» -imŏs (masc.), -imē (fem.), -imŏn (neut.) < PIE *-mos, forms action nouns from verbs (in the ancient Greek language the suffix «-ιμος, -ιμη, -ιμον» was mostly used to form adjectives of possibility or capability).
    So, in the modern language:
    Classical Gr articular inf. «τὸ γράφειν» tò grắpʰe̯in --> the idea/concept of writing > MoGr perfective stem «γραφ-» [ɣraf-] > MoGr imperfective stem «γραψ-» [ɣrap͡s-] > «το γράψιμο» [to ˈɣrap͡simo] (neut. noun) --> the concept of writing.
    Classical Gr articular inf. «τὸ σφάζειν» tò spʰắze̯in --> the act of slaughtering, sacrificial killing > MoGr perfective stem «σφαζ-» [sfaz-] > MoGr imperfective stem «σφαξ-» [sfak͡s-] > «το σφάξιμο» [to ˈsfak͡simo] --> the act of butchering.

    Note that in Classical Gr the neuter article may appear in all case forms bar the vocative (while the infinitive remains indeclinable), e.g «τοῦ γράφειν» toû (=neut. definite article in genitive) grắpʰe̯in --> of the concept of writing, in MoGr on the other hand, the verbal noun is a fully declinable noun: «του γραψ-ίματος [tu ɣraˈp͡simatos] --> of the concept of writing.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  25. ilocas2 Senior Member

    In Czech nouns from verbs are formed with -ní or -tí

    číst - čtení
    pít - pití
    psát - psaní
    šít - šití
    vrčet - vrčení
    telefonovat - telefonování
    sít - setí
    etc. - all verbs

    there are also other nouns
    číst - četba
    chodit - chůze
    jezdit - jízda
    hodit - hod
    vřískat - vřískot
    křičet - křik
    sít - setba
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  26. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia
    Just like other Romance languages, in Catalan and Spanish the use of the infinitive form as a plain noun is limited and rather formal if used ad hoc. I add to Outsider and 810senior examples:

    "to know": saber pt, es, ca; savoir fr; "knowledge"
    "to owe": dever pt, deber es, deure ca, devoir fr; "duty, homework"
    "to be able to": poder pt, es, ca; pouvoir fr; "power"

    It must be noted that these nouns are always masculine. I think this is the scope of the thread, but I'll go further.

    The conversion from verbs to nouns is usually made with various prefixes, which are cognate of English -ment (nowadays the most productive I'd say), -tion, -age or -ance/-ence. Other mechanisms include the use of the past participle (mainly in the feminine form), or simply a zero-form (i.e. no suffix at all), using a typical ending vowel (e.g. in Spanish queja "complaint", despegue "take off", pago "payment").

    Sometimes the same root is given different suffixes in different languages:

    "thought": pensamento pt, pensamiento es, pensament ca / pensée fr / pensiero it
    "birth": nascimento pt, nacimiento es, naixement ca / naissance fr / nascita it
    "abortion": aborto pt, es, it / avortament ca, avortement fr
    "knowledge": conhecimento pt, conocimiento es, coneixement ca / connaissance fr, conoscenza it
    "suffering": sofrimento pt, sufrimiento es, sofriment ca / souffrance fr, sofferenza it
    "insurance": seguro pt, es / assegurança ca, assurance fr / assicurazione it
    "discovery": descoberta pt, découverte fr, scoperta it / descubrimiento es, descobriment ca
    "conversation": conversa pt, ca / conversación es, conversation fr, conversazione it

    Note that other forms with different suffixes may exist, but are less common or have a more restricted meaning.

Share This Page