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thdweb asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

What natural language has the fewest verbs?

I imagine you could express anything with fewer than 10 verbs using adverb modifiers, but a google search turned up nothing.


I need to clarify that I am probably looking for an EXOTIC language here, one with <50 verbs. If you only have a simple knowledge of one other language (IE from school) this may not be the question for you.

Update 2:

Found this, it is possible:

"Le Train de Nulle Part (The Train from Nowhere) is a 233-page French novel, written in 2004 by a French doctor of letters, Michel Dansel, under the pen name Michel Thaler. The novel is notable as an example of constrained writing; the entire novel is written without a single verb.

In the preface of the novel, Thaler called the verb an "invader, dictator, usurper of our literature". Considering the novel an act towards literature comparable with the artistic impact of Dadaism and surrealism, Thaler surmised, "The verb is like a weed in a field of flowers. You have to get rid of it to allow the flowers to grow and flourish. Take away the verbs and the language speaks for itself." Thaler went so far as to organize a well-attended, tongue-in-cheek funeral for the verb, at Sorbonne in Paris."

From Wikipedia

3 Answers

  • Taivo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am a Linguist. I teach Languages of the World at a university. I have looked at the grammars of about 500 different languages around the world during my career.

    You are dreaming. Such a thing does not exist. Verbs are vital components of every single language and they tend to carry the lion's share of meaning in any sentence. There are languages with only a dozen or so adjectives, a few adverbs, but NO languages with fewer than 10 verbs.

    The closest you will come is Archi, a language of the Caucasus. There are about 200 conjugated verbs in Archi. That's probably a good thing because there are 1.5 million possible conjugations for each of those verbs. Complex meanings are built up with a set of several thousand non-conjugated verbs that are combined with the conjugated verbs.

    Source(s): I am a Linguistics professor at a major US university
  • 1 decade ago

    none spanish has 2 many stick w/ english

  • bev
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago


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