In grammar, a frequentative form of a word is one which indicates repeated action. The frequentative form can be considered a separate, but not completely independent word, called a frequentative. English frequentative is no longer productive, but in some languages, such as Finnish, it is.


English has "-le" or geminate-"er" as a suffix. Some frequentative verbs surviving in English are listed below. Additionally, English will occasionally form a frequentative verb by reduplication of a monosyllable (e.g., "murmur", "coo-cooing"). Frequentative nouns are often formed by combining two different vowel grades of the same word (as in "teeter-tot", "pitter-patter", "chitchat", etc.)
* batter (bat)
* blabber (blab)
* bobble (bob)
* crackle (crack)
* curdle (curd)
* dazzle (daze)
* flicker (flick)
* flitter (flit)
* flutter (float)
* haggle (hag, =to hew)
* jiggle (jig)
* patter (pat)
* prattle (prate)
* prickle (prick)
* scuffle (scuff)
* slither (slide)
* sniffle (sniff)
* snuggle (snug)
* sparkle (spark)
* straddle (<'stride')
* swaddle (swathe)
* trample (tramp)
* waddle (wade)
* waggle (wag)
* wrestle (wrest)


In Finnish, a frequentative 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 (to and fro) — I run around"
* "kirjoittaa — kirjoitella — kirjoittelen" "to write — to write (something short) occasionally — I write "around""
* "järjestää — järjestellä — järjestelen" "to put in order — to arrange continuously, to play around — I play around (with them) in order to put them in order"
* "heittää — heittelehtiä — heittelehdit" "to throw — to swerve — you swerve"
* "loikata — loikkia — loikin" "to jump once — to jump (again and again) — I jump (again and again)"
* "istua — istuksia — istuksit" "to sit — to sit (randomly somewhere), loiter — you loiter there by sitting"
* "ajattaa - ajatella — ajattelen" "to make someone drive — to think — I think"

There are several frequentative morphemes, underlined above; these are affected by consonant gradation as indicated. Their meanings are slightly different; see the list, arranged "infinitive"~"personal":
*"-ella"~"-ele-": bare frequentative.
*"-skella"~"-skele-": frequentative unergative verb, where the action is wanton (arbitrary)
*"-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"

Frequentatives may be combined with momentanes, that is, to indicate the repetition of a short, sudden action. The momentane "-ahta-" can be prefixed with the frequentative "-ele-" to produce the morpheme "-ahtele-", as in "täristä" "to shake (continuously)" → "tärähtää" "to shake suddenly once" → "tärähdellä" "to shake, such that a single, sudden shaking is repeated". For example, the contrast between these is that ground shakes ("maa tärisee") continuously when a large truck goes by, the ground shakes once ("maa tärähtää") when a cannon fires, and the ground shakes suddenly but repeatedly ("maa tärähtelee") when a battery of cannons is firing.

Since the frequentative is a lexical, not a grammatical contrast, considerable semantic drift may have occurred, as in the case of "ajaa" "to drive": regularly we have "ajella" "to drive around", "ajattaa" "to make someone drive", but irregularly "ajatella" "to think".

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".

* "surfata — surfailla" "to surf — to surf (around in the net)"
* "*shopata — shoppailla" "*to shop once (impossible) — to go shopping"

That's also the case with an adjective: "iso — isotella" "big — to talk big", or "feikkailla" < English "fake" "to be fake, blatantly and consistently".


In Latin, frequentative verbs show repeated or intense action. They are formed from the supine stem with -tāre/-sāre, -itāre, -titāre/-sitāre added.
*cantāre, sing (*cursāre, run about (*dictāre, dictate (*āctitāre, zealously agitate, agitāre, put into motion (Notice also deponent frequentatives -

minitari (+ dative) (Russian

In 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 (vowel alternation, change of the last root consonant).
*"видеть" (to see) -> "видывать" (to see repeatedly)
*"сидеть" (to sit) -> "сиживать"
*"ходить" (to walk) -> "хаживать"
*"носить" (to wear) -> "нашивать"
*"гладить" (to stroke) -> "поглаживать"
*"писать" (to write) -> "пописывать"
*An interesting example is with the word "брать" (to take); an archaic usage recorded among hunters, normally used in the past tense, in hunter's boasting: "бирал", "бирывал" meaning "used to take (quite a few) trophies".


Turkish also has a similar form. The phonemes called 'helping verbs' ( 'yardımcı eylem' / 'yardımcı fiil' ) are used as suffixes to denote ability ( '-ebilmek' ), close space situation ('-eyazmak'), and repetition ('-egelmek').Fact|date=February 2007

* "anlat-" (to recite) -> "anlatagelmek" (to be reciting repetitively.)

For other helping verbs, see Helping verbs section under Turkish grammar.

ee also

*Continuous and progressive aspects
*Inchoative verb


*cite book | author=Gildersleeve, B. L.| title=Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar| publisher=Bolchazy-Carducci| year=1895 | id=0865164770

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Frequentative — Fre*quent a*tive, a. [L. frequentativus: cf. F. fr[ e]quentatif.] (Gram.) Serving to express the frequent repetition of an action; as, a frequentative verb. n. A frequentative verb. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • frequentative — [frē kwen′tə tiv] adj. [L frequentativus < frequentare, to frequent] Gram. expressing frequent and repeated action n. Gram. a frequentative verb [“sparkle” is a frequentative of “spark”] …   English World dictionary

  • frequentative — verbs express repeated or continuous action and are formed with certain suffixes, in English principally er and le. Examples are chatter, clamber, flicker, flitter, glitter, slumber; crackle, dazzle, paddle, sparkle, wriggle …   Modern English usage

  • frequentative — (n.) verb which expresses repetition of action, 1520s, from Fr. fréquentatif, from L.L. frequentativus that which denotes the repetition of an act, from L. frequentatus, pp. of frequentare visit regularly …   Etymology dictionary

  • frequentative — 1. adjective Serving to express repetition of an action. 2. noun Refers to a subclass of imperfective verbs that denotes a repeated action. An example in English would be the frequentative verb to crackle, as opposed to the nonfrequentative to… …   Wiktionary

  • frequentative — /fri kwen teuh tiv/, Gram. adj. 1. noting or pertaining to a verb aspect expressing repetition of an action. n. 2. the frequentative aspect. 3. a verb in the frequentative aspect, as wrestle from wrest. [1520 30; < L frequentativus denoting… …   Universalium

  • fréquentative — ● fréquentatif, fréquentative adjectif (bas latin frequentativus) fréquentatif nom masculin (bas latin frequentativus) Se dit d une forme verbale, pourvue d un affixe ou constituée grâce à un auxiliaire, qui indique la répétition de l action… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • frequentative — /frəˈkwɛntətɪv/ (say fruh kwentuhtiv) adjective 1. (of a derived verb, or of an aspect of verb inflection) expressing repetition of the action denoted by the underlying verb. –noun 2. a frequentative or iterative verb. 3. the frequentative or… …  

  • frequentative — adjective Date: 1533 denoting repeated or recurrent action or state used of a verb aspect, verb form, or meaning • frequentative noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • frequentative — fre•quen•ta•tive [[t]frɪˈkwɛn tə tɪv[/t]] adj. 1) gram. (of a verb or verb form) expressing repetition of an action 2) gram. a frequentative verb or form • Etymology: 1520–30; < L …   From formal English to slang

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”