LINGUIST List 23.5153

Mon Dec 10 2012

Disc: Cross-linguistic expression of “to like”

Editor for this issue: Kristen Dunkinson <>

Date: 09-Dec-2012
From: Julien Peter Benney <>
Subject: Cross-linguistic expression of “to like”
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One question that has interested me in recent years is how various languagesexpress the meaning of English “to like”.

It is well-known that many older Indo-European languages do not have an exactequivalent of “to like” and use expressions of “pleasing one” instead, whichreminds me a little of Locational Possessive to express “having”.

Other languages, like Japanese “suki desu” or Korean “choa haeyo”, use a noun-or adjective-like word to express liking something.

Another logical possibility (which I have not seen but can very easily imagineexisting in some languages) is expression of “to like” by means of a boundverbal or nominal suffix.

Have you any idea how frequent various means of expressing “to like” are amongthe world’s languages?

How rare are “conventional” “to like” verbs as are found in English?

Thank you very much,Julien Peter Benney

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics Genetic Classification Typology

Page Updated: 10-Dec-2012