In a comment to a recent post, my number one of recent times commenter Batchman mentioned Monty Python’s Argument Clinic sketch. I used this in class many times to show the inter-relationship between verbs and nouns, in this instance, first, argue and argument, and also between the verb argue and the (I’m not sure what the technical term for this is) have an argument.
Many English nouns and verbs relate in one of four ways: either the noun is derived from the verb, the verb is derived from the noun, they are written the same but differ in pronunciation, or they are written and pronounced the same. In the sketch, we have at least one of the following words relating to speaking:
Noun derived from verb
argue > argument
contradict > contradiction
complain > complaint
Same written form, different pronunciation
abuse /s/ ~ abuse /z/
Noun derived from verb
discuss > discussion
dispute > disputation (and dispute)
propose > proposal, proposition
oppose > opposition
present > presentation
dismiss ~ dismissal
(Not surprisingly, -ion/-tion/-ation and -ment are very common noun endings.)
Same written form, same pronunciation
debate ~ debate
dispute ~ dispute (and disputation)
talk ~ talk
fight ~ fight
question ~ question
say ~ say
vote ~ vote
Verb derived from noun
apologise < apology
(Not surprisingly, -ise/-ize is a very common verb ending.)
Several more words either don’t fit into the categories above or have extra points arising. It is difficult to know which of speak and speech came first. They have both been part of English since the beginning. I suspect that speak is the original form because stops turn into fricatives more often than vice versa. While ask can be used as a noun, it is almost always qualified in some way: a big, tough, huge ask (rarely a small ask and probably never a weak ask). Ask is almost always a verb, and by far most often ask a question, though we can also ask a friend. Tell is never a noun in this context. We tell a story or a lie, and also a person, a woman, a man or (not) a soul. Say can be a noun, and indeed in Mind your language Mr Brown tells Giovanni to “Give everybody a say”, but we most often say a word, (not) a thing, a prayer or (not) a lot.
Dispute and propose both have two noun forms, but disputation and proposition seem to have more limited meanings than dispute and proposal.
(All of these verbs can also add -er to make the person who Vs. Mind your language has two proposers and two opposers.)
The difference between V and one or more of have/take/make/do* a(n) N gets very murky very quickly: compare “I’d like to have an argument” and “I’d like to argue” in the Monty Python sketch. The latter might seem too abrupt. Compare also “Today I had an argument with my boss” (once) v “Today I argued with my boss” (once or many times). Also “Do you want to have just one argument” v ?”Do you want to argue just once?”. Going back to propose/proposal/proposition, compare “propose to someone”, “proposition someone”, “make a proposal to someone/make someone a proposal” and “make a proposition to someone/make someone a proposition”. Also “I’d like to speak” and “I’d like to make a speech”.
In Mind your language, we also have chair v take the chair (which Giovanni interprets literally; compare also take a chair and take a seat). Also Mr Brown says take a vote, then Giovanni says both have the vote and take the vote.
(* This is a very good reason why textbooks need to present common collocations and phrases as soon as possible: not just decide and decision, but make a decision as well.)
This is not comprehensive, but a few random thoughts arising from two tv comedy sketches.