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.

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 . Most of these stems use P endings, but a few others use A endings.

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.