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zompist bboard • View topic - Are there any languages where verbs are a closed class?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:46 am 
Sanci
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Also, forgive my stupid question, but are there languages where nouns are a closed class? Thank you!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:58 am 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:01 am 
Sanci
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That was a follow up question to the one in the title! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:07 am 
Avisaru
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I believe some Australian languages have a limited set of verb roots.
For instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlpiri_language

Iroquoian languages make a distinction between formal and functional nouns - functional nouns being, to oversimplify the issue, verbal clauses taking nominal functions syntactically. If I'm not mistaken, formal nouns are a closed class or pretty close to it.

(Disclaimer: I actually do not know a lot about the languages mentioned above besides the intriguing factoids I may have borrowed for my conlangs. If anyone with a better understanding of the subject comes along, feel free to correct it).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:39 am 
Smeric
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In Chechen, any verbs needed for new concepts appear in the form 'to do X', so this language arguably applies.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:44 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:10 pm 
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Japanese, according to Wikipedia.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:23 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:08 pm 
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Most new Japanese verbs are formed from adding suru 'do' to a noun, but new verb coinages are not impossible. 事故る jikoru 'to have an accident' (from jiko 'accident') and メモる memoru 'to note something down' (from 'memo') are both relatively recent verb coinages.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:13 am 
Sanno
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There are languages where what you might call syntactic verbs are a closed class, but where the semantic part of the verb is shunted onto a different word class. In other words, all sentences require auxiliaries, which are the only things that act like verbs, while the 'main verbs' just stand there. On the other hand, you could argue that they're the real verbs, in which case they aren't a closed class.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:24 am 
Avisaru
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Inasmuch as most 'verbs' are light verbs with a nominal or verbnominal object and a conjugated auxiliary, Farsi and Basque. Not entirely sure about Farsi, but in Basque at least the conjugable verbs, as well as being auxiliaries, may act as main verbs and have their own independent meanings. Likewise, many Papuan languages have only a limited set of conjugable verb roots which form a closed class, with new formations adding a nominal element to an existing verb to form a new lexeme.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:17 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:33 am 
Avisaru
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Ingush and Chechen have verbs as a closed class. Novel verbal constructions are basically of the form "do NOUN", like "do gun" for "shoot", if I recall the examples mentioned by Johanna Nichols.


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