Verbs From Nouns
Also known as: denominative verbs, nāmadhātu ("with a noun for a root")
In Starting Out, we learned that primary suffixes could turn verb roots into nouns. Now we will study a rule that turns nouns and adjectives into verb stems. It might seem odd that nouns and adjectives can become verbs, but there are many examples of this behavior in English: we can hand something to somebody, house a friend, or whiten a wall.
He does namas. (i.e. "He worships.")
In this lesson alone, I will use the term nominal verb to refer to any verb formed from a noun. Nominal verbs are very straightforward, so we will not discuss them much after this lesson.
Forming the stem
To form the stem of a nominal verb, we usually add ya to the noun. We use the ordinary noun stem; but if a noun has two stems, we use the weaker stem, and if a noun has three stems, we use the middle stem.
Final i and u are lengthened. Final -a is usually lengthened, too, but it can sometimes become -ī. Most of these stems use P endings, but a few others use A endings.
नमस् → नमस्यति
worship → He worships.
पुत्र → पुत्रीयति
son → He wants a son.
गोप → गोपायति
protector → He protects.
कथा → कथयति
narration → He narrates, he tells.
राजन् → राजायते
king → He behaves like a king.
The -aya class
If a particular stem ends in aya — not āya, īya, or just ya — then it is treated like a verb from the -aya class and listed as such in dictionaries.
मन् → मन्त्र → मन्त्रय → मन्त्र्
man → mantra → mantraya → mantr
think → mantra → deliberate, make counsel (stem) → deliberate, make counsel (root)
कथा → कथय → कथ्
kathā → kathaya → kath
narration → narrate (stem) → narrate (root)