In researching for another language post I’m writing, I came across the Wikipedia page for the Frequentative, a form of a verb that indicates repetition or intensity of the action. We see these fairly often in Latin: salio, salire is ‘to jump, leap;’ jump and leap over and over and we get the frequentative salto, saltare, ‘to dance.’ Video, vidēre means ‘to see;’ its frequentative form viso, visere means ‘to look at carefully’  or ‘to go to see, call upon.’ Interestingly, there is a further frequentative version of viso, visere: visito, vistare, ‘to visit, see often.’ Similarly, dicto, dictare (‘to repeat, dictate’) is the frequentative form of dico, dicere (‘to speak, say’).

As it turns out, we have frequentatives to indicate repetition in English, too. They often end in -le or -er. From the lengthy list Wikipedia provides, my favorites are sparkle (from spark), crackle (from crack), sniffle (from sniff), and flicker (from flick). Since we’re on the subject, remember that if you like any of my posts and you’re a Twitter user, you can tweet a link using the button below.

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