To describe or to make a description: How Uzbek verbal morphology handles borrowings


  • Thomas Kingsley University of Georgia



uzbek, borrowing, verbal morphology


In the field of contact linguistics, how susceptible certain lexical categories are to borrowing is a major topic of discussion. Verbs, in particular, have been a subject of controversy for several decades. This study seeks to add to that discussion by consulting Uzbek as a test case. As a Turkic language with agglutinating morphology and a language that has been subject to influence from several prestige languages, Uzbek has a wealth of borrowed vocabulary available to be analyzed and a verbal system that allows for relatively easy dissection to see which processes borrowings may need to undergo in order to function as verbs in the target language. Using two online Uzbek-English dictionaries, verbs that included various derivational morphemes were obtained and analyzed to see if there was evidence of verbs being borrowed into the language. Upon completion of this analysis, it was determined that Uzbek does not borrow verbs. Instead, its rich derivational morphology allows for a highly productive system of transforming adjectives and nouns into verbs, meaning that there is no reason to borrow verbs themselves.