Friday, 15 December 2017

15th Lexember Word

nihárpa [ɲiˈɦäˑɾpə̆], transitive verb: “to help/assist/aid (someone)“

What we’ve got here is an interesting case of semantic shift. Nihárpa is morphologically the causative form of nihár. However, it’s an old causative form that is not productive anymore and that has changed meaning with time, going from “to make (someone) strong” to “to help (someone)” (because helping is effectively giving, or at least lending, someone the power to solve their problem).

In terms of meaning, nihárpa is used strictly for “non-vital” help. It is used for instance to speak about helping someone do their homework, or helping someone fill in their tax forms (Being late with one’s tax declarations is not lethal, right?). Helping someone out of a dangerous, life-threatening situation is handled differently, as we’ll soon see :-).

Like a number of other verbs, nihárpa has a separate, slightly irregular plural form: nihámmo. It’s used when the object of the verb is plural or indefinite (i,e. not mentioned in speech or known by context), as with every transitive verb with a plural form.

from Tumblr

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