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The Meanings of the Verbs smijati se (to laugh), nasmijati se (to burst out laughing or to have a good laugh) and nasmiješiti se
This paper analyzes the degrees of closeness, similarity, and difference between three Croatian verbs with the stem smij: smijati se, nasmijati se and nasmiješiti se. After a review of their dictionary definitions, the verbs were analyzed: 1) through a prism of positive and negative connotations, with adverbial phrases and comparisons of manner (including mental state and age), time adverbs and adverbial phrases (duration and frequency), adverbs and adverbial phrases of quantity, 2) in syntagmas with body parts, place adverbs and adverbial phrases, and with a direct object. The analysis shows that, in the dictionary-defined meaning contexts, the verbs nasmijati se and nasmiješiti se range from similar to distinct in meaning in relation to their parent-verb smijati se. The verbs nasmijati se and nasmiješiti se in certain contextsshow a greater degree of similarity in meaning from the perspective of time duration. However, in other contexts, they are less similar due to differences in their audio-visual perception: the verb nasmiješiti se lacks auditory manifestation and perception and therefore allows only for visual perception. The paper points to a need for a finer dictionary differentiation between the verbs smijati se and nasmijati se, which would include the shortness of duration. Another suggestion is to add a positive meaning in specific contexts of the verb smijati se in a phrase with the indirect object; smijati se komu, čemu (to laugh at someone, something), in addition to negative meaning of these expressions.
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