The change in syntactic function and paradigm, i. e. in distribution, that the stem undergoes in conversion is obvious from the examples. As to the semantic changes, they are at first sight somewhat chaotic. Many authors have pointed out that dust v means lto remove dust from smth* and also the opposite, i. e. ‘to powder’, ‘to cover with smth’ (e. g. to dust a cake with sugar); stone v means ‘to throw stones at1, ‘to put to death by throwing stones at1 and also ‘to remove the stones’ (from fruit). A closer investigation will show, however, some signs of patterned relationships, especially if one observes semantically related groups.
The lexical meaning of the verb points out the instrument, the agent, the place, the cause, the result and the time of action. The examples below serve only to illustrate this, the classification beingfarfromexhaustive. lt should be also borne in mind that the verbs are mostly polysemantic and have other meanings in addition to those indicated. Like other verbs creating a vivid image they often receive a permanent metaphorical meaning. Verbs based on nouns denoting some part of the human body will show a re-gularity of instrumental meaning, even though the polyse¬mantic ones among them will render other meanings as well, e. . eye ‘to watch carefully’ (with eyes); finger ‘to touch with the fingers1; hand lto give or help with the hand”: elbow *to push or force one’s way with the elbows’; toe ‘to touch, reach or kick with the toes’. The verb head conforms to this pattern too as alongside its most frequent meaning ‘to be at the head of, and many others,it possesses the meaning ‘to strike with one’s head’ (as in football). The same type of instrumental relations will be noted in stems de¬noting various tools, machines and weapons: to hammer, to knife, to ma¬chine-gun, to pivot, to pump, to rivet, to sandpaper, to saw, to spur, 158 o flash-light, to wheel, to free-wheel (said about a car going with the engine switched off), or more often ‘to travel on a bicycle without pedalling (usually downhill)’, etc. Sometimes the noun names the agent of the action expressed in the verb, the action being characteristic of what is named by the noun: crowd ‘to come together in large numbers’; flock ‘to gather in flocks’; herd ‘to gather into a herd’; swarm ‘to occur or come in swarms’. The group of verbs based on the names of animals may be called metaphorical, as their meaning implies comparison.
They are also agential, in so far as the verb denotes the behaviour considered characteristic of this or that animal (as an agent), e. g. ape ‘to imitate in a foolish way as an ape does’; dog ‘to follow close behind as a dog does*; monkey ‘to mimick, mock or play mischievous tricks like those of a monkey’; wolf (down) ‘to eat quickly and greedily like a wolf. A smaller subgroup might be classified under the heading of resultative relations with the formulas: ‘to hunt some animal’ and 4to give birth to some animal’, e. g. to fox, to rabbit, to rat, to foal.
With nouns denoting places, buildings, containers and the like the meaning of the converted verb will be locative: bag ‘to put in a bag’; bottle ‘to store in bottles’; can ‘to put into cans’; corner ‘to set in a cor¬ner’; floor ‘to bring to the floor*; garage ‘to put (a car) in a garage’; pocket ‘to put into one’s pocket’. Verbs with adjective stems, such as blind, calm, clean, empty, idle% lame, loose, tidy, total show fairly regular semantic relationships with the corresponding adjectives. Like verbs with adjective stems that had been formerly suffixed and lost their endings (e. g. to thin