Tuesday, 23 December 2014

23rd Lexember Word

sfom /sfo̞m/, noun: “flow, current; course (of a river), path; period, length (of time); (heavy) rain, downpour”

isfomi /isfo̞mi/, verb: “to flow; to float; to change”

That’s how I often feel my work flow looks like…

Anyway, once again we’ve got one of those polysemic roots, compounded with the fact that this one can be used as a noun and as a verb.

As a noun, the primary meaning of sfom is “flow, current”. In that sense, it refers strictly to liquid flows. For instance, the current of a river is sfom. Electric and air currents, on the other hand, are not.

As a semantic extension to the idea of the flow of a river, sfom is also used to refer to its course, or path taken, and to all paths in general. And because Moten has this permeating metaphor that equates time with a flowing river, this in turn has caused sfom to take on the meaning “period of time”.

Finally, sfom refers to water flowing not only horizontally but also vertically, i.e. it can be used to refer to rain. In that sense, it only refers to heavy rainfall. Light rain is referred to by the word tlap, which is probably of onomatopoeic origin.

As a verb, the primary meaning of isfomi is “to flow”, and is once again only used of liquids. As an extension to this meaning, isfomi can also refer to objects caught within or on the surface of a flow of liquid, leading to the meaning “to float”. Finally, the time metaphor appears again, and isfomi can also mean “to change, to evolve”, or more precisely “to change as a result of the passing time”.

In any case, isfomi is always strictly an intransitive verb.


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