There is a nice book which is a treasure to all students of Japanese in particular, but could also be of interest to conlangers in general. It is called 'Handbook of Japanese Compound Verbs' (Yoshiko Tagashira and Jean Hoff; Hokuseido Press).
Compound verbs are just that, compounds of two verbs, but for some reason don't really exist in Indo-European. In Japanese they range from literal (_tataki-kowasu_ 'hit-break = tear down, shatter') to abstracted (_yomi-ageru_ 'read-raise = 'read aloud'), idiomatic (_oshi-kakeru_ 'push-hang = intrude, visit without invitation') and culturally peculiar (_tati-yomi_ 'stand-read = read in a bookstore without buying', only in nominalized form).
As you can see, they offer a great wealth of semantic finesse and scrumptiousness, potentially helpful and inspiring for one's own language.
The mentioned book is a dictionary of 200 selected compound verbs, but it is also a paragon of presenting such material. For example, the first entry is _abakidasu_ 'dig up some criminal or confidential matter and expose it to the world'.
The dictionary begins with giving the constituents:
V1 _abaku_ 'expose some criminal or confidential matter'
V2 _dasu_ 'take out, reveal'
It classifies the compounds into types, this one is 'means-goal'.
Then it comments on restrictions of usage:
- a digging-up process has to be involved
- there is an adverse effect on the target person
- not used for physical objects
- the exposure is public
Finally, it lists several example sentences with the word, one being:
_Imasara kako no koto wo abakidasatte shikata ga nai._
'It's no use raking up the past at this late date.'
But also at least one incorrect example, if it is helpful:
_**Omae ga kako ni mafia to kankei ga atta koto wo masukomi ni abakidasu zo!_
'We'll tell the media that you had connections with the Mafia in the past!'
This is not correct because no digging is involved, one has to use _barasu_.
Inspired by this book, I've been working on a similar dictionary for a similar semantically complex construct in my language Talmit (http://sindanoorie.net/glp.html), which I call 'phrasal compounds'. So I hereby present to you the Talmit dictionary of phrasal compounds:
Such compounds consist out of two monosyllabic lexical items joined by a grammatical element. The grammatical element can be a case postposition:
- accusative _nu_: _tánugi_ 'thing-ACC-see' = 'to inspect, check whether sth. or so. is really there', _pánugi_ 'state-ACC-see' = 'to inspect, check the state of affairs'
- genitive _mo_: _gámmoka_ 'nose-GEN-flat.area' = 'area between the nose and the upper lip'
- dative _ma_: _dématal_ 'deed-DAT-word' = 'rule, law'
- instrumental _za_: _mázagi_ 'eye-INSTR-see' = 'obvious, apparent; eyewitness'
- themative _la_: _tállado_ 'word-concerning-ask' = 'ask for permission or to loan something'
- nominative _ja_: _páhjamut_ 'shoe-NOM-nothing' = 'barefoot'
It can also be the conjunctional suffix _-ra_ 'and' or _-se_ 'and, interacting with':
- _básseba_ 'leg-with-leg' = 'gait; conduct, behaviour', _gíssepun_ 'eye-with-finger' = 'skill', _áxeat_ 'one-and-one' = 'one by one, one at a time'
- _dáhraba_ 'stone-and-leg' = 'measurement' (weight and length), _bórabno_ 'mouth-and-mouth' = 'uproar'
Finally, it can be _-ru_ which is adverbial, or participial after verbs. If the verb is repeated, this has iterative or intensifying meaning:
- _árupsar_ 'good-ADV-rub' = 'warm up by friction', _írugi_ 'bad-ADV-look' = 'evil spell, curse'
- _gíruga_ 'see-PART-go' = 'scout, spy', _dérode_ 'do-PART-do' = 'drive, thirst of action'
As one can see, verbs joined like that are basically verbal compounds. But the second lexical item does not have to be a verb:
- _gírumui_ 'see-PART-NEG' = 'invisible', _kézrumui_ 'pierce-PART-NEG' = 'invincible, not able to be pierced; inconceivable, difficult to get a grasp of', _írutru_ 'bad-ADV-inside' = 'non-edible'
Anyway, these are just some examples, there are currently 137 words in the list. In a perfect world world I would also add positive, and, where appropriate, negative example sentences to all the entries, but as of now you'll find that part rather sparse. It will hopefully grow with time.
The entries are cross-linked with the etymological dictionary (http://sindanoorie.net/glp/etym.html).
The etymological dictionary has received an improvement as well, it now has a search mask which filters the table, and a clickable list of roots. Sound-symbolic roots which yield lexical items are also cross-linked.
Comments are appreciated. Also, stay tuned for further updates.