Defining English and Serbian Verbs of Damage


  • Boris Hlebec Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade



contrastive analysis, collocational method, verbs, semantic field, English, Serbian


Applying his own collocational method in line with the distributional semantics, the author provides definitions of causative “verbs of damage” in Serbian and English. In this way the two lexical subfields can be compared, and relevant conclusions drawn about their similarities and differences. “Verbs of damage” comprise a small set of verbs that share the definition ‘cause to get in bad state’, and they are to be distinguished from “verbs of destruction”. This common parlance definition is reduced to a semantic definition stated in terms of semantic atoms, and the graphic devices used in the definitions are explained. Its implications are commented on, as well as the evaluative connotation of the object nouns. Collocational method is a variant of distributional semantics, and the article expounds its main principles and states the three steps to be taken when applying the method. In connection with this matter, the acceptability of collocations is discussed. Implications are given of broad semantic categories like ‘sth’, and ‘phenomenon’ by offering narrower categories.


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How to Cite

Hlebec, B. (2023). Defining English and Serbian Verbs of Damage. Philologia, 21(1), 1–21.



Nauka o jeziku/Linguistics