Nominalization through back-formation or unclear formation

Lusus Naturae

Senior Member
Cantonese
Wiktionary says vigia is "back-formation from vigiar".
Is the derivation in instances such as Sforza < sforzare the same type of nominalization? How common is it in Romance languages?
Is the derivation in instances such as scherzo < scherzare the same type of back-formation?

Wiktionary says pappardella is "derivative from pappare, of unclear formation". Is -ardella<-are just one of the many types of irregular formation? Could you help me gather some of those types?
 
  • symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Hi, Lusus! I am no linguist, but I've always thought that making verbs out of nouns was a common thing in almost every language. You have a noun and you can turn it into a verb, some way or the other. In English for example you add "to" to a noun and it becomes a verb; in Romance languages you usually add -are, -ar, -er to a noun in order to create your verb. It's quite common and easy in all languages I have a smattering of; possibly Chinese doesn't work that way...
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Is the derivation in instances such as Sforza < sforzare the same type of nominalization? How common is it in Romance languages?
    Is the derivation in instances such as scherzo < scherzare the same type of back-formation?
    It's quite common. Back-formation can either lead to a masculine or a feminine noun, although my feeling is that masculine nouns are way more common here. I also think French makes less ample use of this mechanism, maybe because adding a suffix usually takes less syllables and often due to final consonant dropping back-formation words would become undistinguishable. Comparing it to Spanish: avortement-aborto, paiement-pago, destination-destino, amélioration-mejora, citation-cita, etc.

    Wiktionary says pappardella is "derivative from pappare, of unclear formation". Is -ardella<-are just one of the many types of irregular formation? Could you help me gather some of those types?
    I think so. This kind of words tend to be colloquial in meaning. In Spanish: escupir>escupitajo, pisar>pisotón,... And I can't think of any more at the moment.
     

    Swatters

    Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    I also think French makes less ample use of this mechanism, maybe because adding a suffix usually takes less syllables and often due to final consonant dropping back-formation words would become undistinguishable. Comparing it to Spanish: avortement-aborto, paiement-pago, destination-destino, amélioration-mejora, citation-cita, etc.
    Suffixless deverbal nouns are rather productive in Contemporary French actually.

    In older vocabulary strata (some of them had a suffix that eroded away, but they form the model for the modern stratum):

    Payer - la paie
    Appeler - l'appel (m.)
    Envoyer - l'envoi (m.)
    Couper - la coupe
    Marcher - la marche
    Nager - la nage
    Courir - la course (< an old form of the past participle of courir)

    Modern stratum (all the nouns are feminine):

    Arracher - à l'arrache (to tear off - hurriedly)
    Gagner - la gagne
    Lecher - la lèche (to lick - flattery)
    Bouffer - la bouffe
    Aguicher - L'aguiche (seduce - seduction)
     
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