In grammar, a frequentative form of a word is one that indicates repeated action, but is not to be confused with iterative aspect. The frequentative form can be considered a separate but not completely independent word called a frequentative. The frequentative is no longer productive in English, but still is in some language groups, such as Finno-Ugric, Balto-Slavic, Turkic, etc.
EnglishEnglish has -le and -er as frequentative suffixes. Some frequentative verbs surviving in English and their parent verbs are listed below. Additionally, some frequentative verbs are formed by reduplication of a monosyllable. Frequentative nouns are often formed by combining two different vowel grades of the same word
|haggle||hag = hew, hack||-le|
The present tense in English usually has a frequentative meaning. For example, "I walk to work." means "I walk to work most days.", and would be true even if the speaker was not on their way to work there at the time.verb signifies a single action repeated, "around the place" both spatially and temporally. The complete translation would be "go — around aimlessly". There is a large array of different frequentatives, indicated by lexical agglutinative markers. In general, one frequentative is -:i-, and another -ele-, but it is almost always combined with something else. Some forms:
- sataa — sadella — satelee "to rain — to rain occasionally — it rains occasionally"
- ampua — ammuskella — ammuskelen "to shoot — go shooting around — I go shooting around"
- juosta — juoksennella — juoksentelen "to run — to run around — I run around"
- kirjoittaa — kirjoitella — kirjoittelen "to write — to write occasionally — I write "around""
- järjestää — järjestellä — järjestelen "to put in order — to arrange continuously, to play around — I play around in order to put them in order"
- heittää — heittelehtiä — heittelehdit "to throw — to swerve — you swerve"
- loikata — loikkia — loikin "to jump once — to jump — I jump "
- istua — istuksia — istuksit "to sit — to sit, loiter — you loiter there by sitting"
- -ella~-ele-: bare frequentative.
- -skella~-skele-: frequentative unergative verb, where the action is wanton
- -stella~-stele-: frequentative causative, where the subject causes something indicated in the root, as "order" vs. "to continuously try to put something in order".
- -nnella~-ntele-: a frequentative, where an actor is required. The marker -nt- indicates a continuing effort, therefore -ntele- indicates a series of such efforts.
- -elehtia~-elehdi-: movement that is random and compulsive, as in under pain, e.g. vääntelehtiä "writhe in pain", or heittelehtiä "to swerve"
- -:ia-~-i-: a continuing action definitely at a point in time, where the action or effort is repeated.
- -ksia~-ksi-: same as -i-, but wanton, cf. -skella
Since the frequentative is a lexical, not a grammatical contrast, considerable semantic drift may have occurred.
For a list of different real and hypothetical forms, see:
Loanwords are put into the frequentative form, if the action is such. If the action can be nothing else but frequentative, the "basic form" doesn't even exist, such as with "to go shopping".
- surffata — surffailla "to surf — to surf "
- *shopata — shoppailla "*to shop once — to go shopping"
GreekIn Homer and Herodotus, there is a past frequentative, usually called "past iterative", formed like the imperfect, but with an additional -sk- suffix before the endings.
- "I used to have"
Frequentative verbs are formed with the suffix –gat. Also there is a so-called Template rule, which forces another vowel in between the base verb and the affix resulting in a word containing at least three syllables. Verbal prefixes do not count as a syllable.
Some verbs' frequentative forms have acquired an independent non-frequentative meaning. In these cases the three syllables rule is not applied as the form is not considered a frequentative. These words can be affixed with –gat again to create a frequentative meaning.
In rare cases non-verbs can be affixed by –gat to give them similar modification in meaning as to verbs. In most cases these non-verbs are obviously related to some actions, like a typical outcome or object. The resulting word basically has the same meaning as if the related verb were affixed with –gat.
The change in meaning of a frequentative compared to the base can be different depending on the base: The –gat affix can modify the occurrences or the intensity or both of an action. Occasionally it produces a specific meaning which is related but distinct from the original form's.
|frequentative||root||translation of root||translation of –gat form||explanation|
|fizetget||fizet||to pay||paying for a longer period with probably less intensity||the vowel harmony forced -GAT to take form of -get|
|kéreget||kér||to ask||begging for a living||because the resulting word must be at least three syllables long a new vowel is added to the word: kér-e-get|
|kiütöget||üt||hit||hit out sg. multiple times||the prefixed coverb "ki" doesn't count as a syllable so an extra vowel is added: üt-ö-get|
|hallgatgat||hallgat||to listen||to listen multiple times but with possibly less intensity||the original verb "hallgat" is a syntactically imperfect frequentative form of "hall"|
|rángat||ránt||to hitch||to tousle||this one is kind of an exception for the three syllable rule, however "rántogat" is uncommon but valid, and has a slightly bigger emphasis on the separate nature of each pull rather than a continuous shaking as in "rángat"|
|jajgat||jaj||ouch||to shout "jaj" multiple times, probably because of pain||the original word is not a verb, so the three syllable rule is not applied|
|béget||bee||baa||to shout baa multiple times||same as above|
|mosogat||mos||to wash||to do the dishes||the frequentative form has an own non-frequentative meaning|
|mosogatgat||mosogat||to do the dishes||to do the dishes slowly and effortlessly||as the frequentative "mosogat" has a non-frequentative meaning, it can be affixed by -GAT to make it frequentative|
|dolgozgat||dolgozik||to work||to work with less effort and intensity, as in: "Ők fizetgetnek, én dolgozgatok"||the "-ik" at the end of "dolgozik" is an irregular ending which is only effective in third person singular, so -GAT sticks to "dolgoz" which is the root of the word|
LatinIn Latin, frequentative verbs show repeated or intense action. They are formed from the supine stem with -tāre/-sāre, -itāre, -titāre/-sitāre added.
- ventitāre, ‘come frequently or repeatedly’
- cantāre, ‘ sing’
- cursāre, ‘run around’
- dictāre, ‘dictate’
- āctitāre, ‘zealously agitate’ and agitāre, ‘put into motion’
- pulsāre, ‘push/beat around’
- iactāre, ‘shake, disturb’
Lithuanianhas a past frequentative, which serves to express a single action repeated in the past. Starting from the infinitive without –ti, it is formed by adding the invariant morpheme –dav– followed by the regular past tense suffix of the first conjugation. For instance, dirb·ti, whose plain past tense is dirb·au, has a past iterative of dirb·dav·au. The six intersections of person and number map onto five distinct frequentative endings; there is no morphological distinction of number in the third person, nor of conjugation class in general.
The closest relative of Lithuanian, Latvian, as well as the Samogitian dialect of the language, has no separate past tense to mark iterative aspect; in its place, however, both may express it by means of periphrasis. An auxiliary verb – mēgt in Latvian and liuobėti in Samogitian – will then occupy the syntactic centre of the verb phrase, relegating the main verb to trail it as an infinitive complement.
Consider the following three translations of the English sentence "We used to read a lot."
- Lithuanian: Mes daug skaitydavome.
- Samogitian: Mes liuobiam daug skaitītė.
- Latvian: Mēs mēdzām daudz lasīt.
- jeść → jadać
- iść → chadzać.
- widzieć → widywać
- pisać → pisywać
- czytać → czytywać
RussianIn the Russian language, the frequentative form of verbs to denote a repeated or customary action is produced by inserting the suffix -ив/-ыв, often accompanied with a change in the root of the word.
- видеть → видывать
- сидеть → сиживать
- ходить → 'хаживать
- носить → нашивать
- гладить → поглаживать
- писать → пописывать
- An interesting example is with the word брать ; an archaic usage recorded among hunters, normally used in the past tense, in hunter's boasting: бирал, бирывал