Definition of functional shift in US English:

functional shift


  • A shift in the use of a word to a new grammatical function, such as the use of the nouns contact and impact as verbs.

    • ‘Its functional shift to a noun adjunct in the Pledge is a small but significant reinterpretation of the past to make it more congenial to current ideological purposes.’
    • ‘This grammatical category is especially interesting for the history of the Indo-Iranian verb because of its dramatic functional shifts, from stative present to narrative past tense; with some stops and detours along the way; and it deserves a treatment that recognizes its centrality in the shifting dynamics of the verbal system in general.’
    • ‘Conversion, or functional shift, is the process by which words extend their grammatical function: for example, from verb to noun (run in go for a run), and from noun to verb (position in positioning people).’
    • ‘A functional shift is the process by which an existing word or form comes to be used with another grammatical function (often a different part of speech); an example of a functional shift would be the development of the noun commute from the verb commute.’
    • ‘This paper surveys this phenomenon, then considers how a functional shift from nominal-marking to verbal-marking morphology could have occurred.’
    • ‘Shakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb.’
    • ‘By the video games, a rapper sang out, ‘Yo, functional shift, homie, the verb is an example of a linguistic process called functional shift.’’