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Inventiveness in Polish word formation

5 Nov 2009 /  #1
Dave always loads too many cakes onto one side of his tray and quite often, this causes the tray to topple over. Someone else does this and someone says "You're going to Dave your tray." thereby turning Dave into a verb. Is there any kind of Polish equivalent to this kind of word formation?

Other examples of inventiveness in English are using suffixes like -age to mean a large amount or a collection of something. "There's a lot of shrubbage" meaning there are lots of shrubs, probably of many different varieties. Un- is an easy prefix to add to English words in a way that makes sense but doesn't give words that can be found in the dictionary. "You had better un-Dave your tray of cakes."

I'm looking for word elements that can easily be used and are used in word formation. I'm not just looking for literal translations of what I have written, although I'd be interested if people's names can be turned into verbs, a process which I shall, for the purposes of this thread, call Osiolisation. I am looking for areas of inventiveness in the Polish langauge.
5 Nov 2009 /  #2
"You're going to Dave your tray." thereby turning Dave into a verb.

There are some similar verbs derived from nouns in Polish like...

cygan - pikey --> ocyganić - to cheat, to con
komar - mosquito --> przekomarzać się - to tease, argue
cietrzew - black grouse --> zacietrzewić się - turn angry, agitated
baran - ram --> zbaranieć - to be dumbstruck

...there's many more verbs like these, if that's what you meant, Osioł.
OP osiol  
5 Nov 2009 /  #3
there's many more verbs like these


if that's what you meant, Osioł.

Not entirely, but one should never look a giftdonkey in the mouth, so thanks for your contribution.

I'd like to see some examples of how words may be freely invented.
5 Nov 2009 /  #4
I'd like to see some examples of how words may be freely invented.

Well, there is a verb "kamerować" (incorrect, low register) which was freely
invented (derived from the noun "kamera") by someone who didn't know
the proper verb "filmować".

Kids are usually good at inventing new words :), but if you were looking
for something like "Dave - to Dave" then I've never heard anything like
that in Polish. It would have to be something like Michał - michałować,
Dawid - dawidować, Bożena - bożenować and it'd sound quite ridiculous
in Polish.
Wroclaw Boy  
5 Nov 2009 /  #5
Tak yes.

Related: Book about Polish word formation?

Is there any book about word formation in the Polish language?

Try any Polish online bookstore and search for "słowotwórstwo."
This one, I recommend:,40403,tytul,Kultura-jezyka-polskiego-1-Fleksja-slowotworstwo-skladnia,ksiazka.html?ticaid=1c4d5
5 Nov 2009 /  #6
Well the ending(s) -(iz)ować are used pretty freely in creating new verbs.

A friend of mine once used (created?) a verb igorizować, from igor, frankenstein's assistant, to describe the manner of a common acquaintance.

Some quick googling also shows 'tuskować' presumably about the current PM (there's no root like that in my big dictionary)

But generally Polish word creativity runs in different directions than English for obvious structural reasons.
5 Nov 2009 /  #7
But it's like that in every language that bears more agglutinative features than flective ones... English is more of a flective language with not much agglutination these days. (NB. even the word itself is an example: "to glue" -> -> "agglutinate" = to glue together.)

The best laugh is when you assimilate foreign words, thus "languages" like Hunglish or Polglish are born. :) (See "shoppingować" etc.) Most people unconsciously do that when they live abroad...

cygan - pikey --> ocyganić - to cheat, to con

I suppose that is a non-PC verb these days. :D
"Strangely", we also have a very similar verb po węgiersku that could be translated as cyganować się, meaning that you are acting dirty or insincerely in a deal or situation (i.e. "playing a gipsy game")...
OP osiol  
5 Nov 2009 /  #8
So basically, from what you have all said, Polish and Wroclaw Boy are quite boring.

On one hand I mean that last comment and on the other I don't really.

Are you trying to tell me that only words found in the dictionary exist and people don't coin new words in the process of natural conversation? I prefer to think that inventiveness exists in every language but not always in the same places.
11 Dec 2009 /  #9
I can't agree more! Inventiveness exists in every language, and I think it is a playful feature. A recent one in English: chillax.
See 'relax'... :)

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