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An inchoative verb, sometimes called an "inceptive" verb, shows a process of beginning or becoming. Productive inchoative infixes exist in several languages, including Latin and Ancient Greek, and consequently some Romance languages. Not all verbs with inchoative infixes have retained their inceptive meaning. In Italian, for example, present indicative finisco 'I finish' contains the form of the infix, while present indicative finiamo 'we finish' does not, yet the only difference in meaning is that of person subject; the infix is now semantically inert.
Greek also uses the inchoative suffix -sk-, although it does not always indicate inchoative meaning. -sk- is added to verb-stems ending in vowels, -isk- to consonant stems.
Finnish inchoatives may be marked with -nt- (which undergoes consonant gradation to -nn- in weak form).
An alternative form is of this vaaleta, hiljetä, etc.
Not all inchoatives are marked like this, however, e.g.
The translative case marks "becoming something" on the noun. Thus, if a target state is specific, it is placed in the translative case (-ksi), e.g. lehti vaalenee keltaiseksi "the leaf pales to yellow". The transformation from a state is marked with the elative case (-sta). For example, lehti vaalenee tummanvihreästä keltaiseksi "the leaf pales from dark green to yellow". In eastern Karelian dialects the exessive case (-nta) is found; it specifically refers to inchoative changes.
In Swedish, inchoative verbs end in -na. Some examples and their non-inchoative counterparts:
This class of verbs is today not productive, and the umlaut relationship between some inchoative verbs and their non-inchoative counterparts indicates that they in fact are quite old.
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