This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Nuts and Bolts 3. Frequentatives.

No, they're brilliant. Really. I know they've got a long dull name, but they describe some of the most playful and loveable words you could come across anywhere.

Frequentatives are words which have grown some extra letters on their ends to show that an action is being repeated.
Usually the extra letters are LE.
Like, for instance, sniffle means to sniff a lot. Then there's waggle (wag a lot, of course) and paddle (you're ahead of me) all gloriously silly words.
And then there are some interesting frequentatives which don't work in quite the same way, like dazzle (daze) and, perhaps my favourite of all, nestle (nest). 

Word to use today: waggle.
From wagian, which means to shake, and perhaps also from the Old Norse word vagga, which means cradle.

6 comments:

  1. Gosh this is fascinating. I've lived for years and years and never heard of a frequentive! Truly an educational site, this!

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  2. Can't even spell the thing. I mean FREQUENTATIVES!

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  3. Here's some I thought of in the bath...

    prick/prickle
    crack/crackle
    tramp/trample
    speck/speckle
    dab/dabble
    bob/bobble

    and with ER
    flick/flicker
    splat/splatter

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  4. Hey, That's close to being The Word Den's first original published poem. How exciting!

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  5. Is chat and chatter one, chatter is like talking more than chat but sometimes chattering is like chatting you can't understand. Like monkeys chatter but they don't chat.

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  6. Welcome, Emma!
    Yes, CHATTER is a really interesting word. It certainly does seem to act as a frenquentative, but as it happens CHATTER was a word before CHAT was.
    So does that make CHAT a FEWER-TATIVE?

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