Questions regarding morphemes (smallest semantically meaningful units in a language) such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

4
votes
1answer
315 views

Different sounds of “t” [closed]

Why do we sometimes pronounce t as /t/, whereas other times we pronounce it as /ʧ/ or /ʃ/? t in town, 'ʧ' in natural 'ʃ' in hamartia/tertiary Is there any special rule for these?
0
votes
2answers
849 views

“Sexy” and “sexiness”

When did the noun sex acquire its corresponding adjective and abstract noun? I would really like to know a few things about the history of these two word formations. As far as I know, these lexical ...
2
votes
1answer
265 views

When is “all y'allses” used?

I have a student from Virginia who says she has heard the use of all y'allses; does anyone know about this? Is it that the second person plural being used is all y'alls (with the -s at the end here ...
6
votes
1answer
303 views

Is the suffix “-ize” particularly productive in the morphological domain of nouns ending in “-nym”?

On a recent question asking if acronymize is a word, a comment caught my attention: Why bother to acronymize? If I'm going to take such liberties, I might as well just acronym the text. This ...
3
votes
1answer
377 views

What are the implicit rules for creating new portmanteaux in English?

Wikipedia defines a portmanteau1 as: “Portmanteau word” is used to describe a linguistic blend, namely “a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “grammered” a word?

Can I get any details about the word grammered? Is there any relation between it and "grammatically corrected" or "grilled and hammered"?
2
votes
1answer
191 views

Morphological structure of 'misrepresent' and 'consideration'

I've been wondering about the morphological structure of 'misrepresent' and 'consideration.' In 'misrepresent,' is sent, present, or represent the stem? It's quite tricky! Consideration is also ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

Is there a correlation between “bad” and “bat”?

I saw something about Batman somewhere online, and for a very brief moment it crossed my mind that it sounds like 'bad man'. A fraction of a second later I noticed the bat logo. Bats are usually ...
5
votes
2answers
961 views

Is there a word for made up verbs that end in “ing”?

One thing I love about English is that verbs can be easily created just by adding the suffix "-ing" and adjectives by adding "-ly". How would you call this phenomenon? Examples: Googling, ...
3
votes
2answers
822 views

Why do all negating words start with the letter N?

Maybe this question is stupid, but I came to wonder: Why do all negating words start with the letter n? This is the case in all languages I know of.
-1
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the comparative form of the adverb “nicely”?

The adjective nice can be inflected: nicer, nicest. Can the derived adverb nicely be inflected as well, or does it only have the absolute form?
1
vote
2answers
246 views

How to find words which are related morphologically?

I'm looking for a book, or any other source, which lists words that are morphologically related, like this: imagine verb imagination noun imaginative adjective Or this: medic ...
1
vote
3answers
496 views

Travel/Travelers & Journey/Journeyers [closed]

When I change Travel to Travelers, what is that? Is that some sort of participle? Also, how is this accomplished with Exodus? As in 'Exodus-ers'. Does one use the Latin ablative?
12
votes
5answers
6k views

Usage of -ist and -ian, when to use which?

This is a question bugging me for a long long time, especially for a non-native speaker like myself. We have physicist standing for the people doing physics research, as is linguist, chemist, etc. ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are the notes or protocol of a meeting referred to as its 'minutes'?

A minute is 60 seconds. Something 'minute' is small, minor, perhaps short. Now, what about the minutes of a meeting or a session? As in, its written protocol? Are they called that because: The ...
1
vote
1answer
239 views

Is there any other word meaning “prick” with initial onsets “pr-” except prick?

This is my edited question: I look up in the etymological dictionay about prick, and find that prick is not a word derived from Proto-indo-european etymon. Meanwhile, I find a lot of words meaning ...
-2
votes
2answers
5k views

Does the suffix -ion in “invention” mean the same in “station”?

Is the suffix -ion in the word invention the same as in the words direction, nation, fiction, station?
12
votes
4answers
14k views

Are the words “sillily”, “uglily”, “friendlily”, “livelily”, etc., valid English?

I have wondered about how to make the words silly, ugly, friendly, lively, etc. into adverbs, so I researched in the Internet. I found many different answers, so I tried checking Oxford Dictionaries. ...
-3
votes
1answer
477 views

Which best describes the English language?

English has complex morphology and less rigid phonology. English has less complex phonology but more rigid morphology. English has both rigid and complex morphology and phonology.
-3
votes
2answers
746 views

Is this a morphological error? or an instance of neologism? [closed]

A learner's error of translation: Hand me the pincers. (for pliers) Is this an error of morphology; or is it, as I think, a neologism, in that the learner substitutes a term he already knows ...
16
votes
2answers
953 views

What’s going on with “drink > drench”? Is it like “passage > passenger”?

Edit: I am looking for a particular linguistic term for this process (which here uses terminal palatalization to indicate such) of turning passive verbs like drink into active verbs like drench. I ...
7
votes
2answers
530 views

Are there names for consonant-shifts when suffixes are added?

I saw a spelling mistake on an SO question: submittion. That got me wondering, is there a name for the shift of ‑mit‑ to ‑miss‑ in submission, permission, admission and so on? Are there other patterns ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Comparative adverbs

"Officially" (or so I believe) English doesn't have comparative adverbs (a single word rather than "more" + an adverb), but faster is in common usage as one, for example: Do it faster When ...
1
vote
1answer
562 views

What are the component words of 'Cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust'? Can this be accepted as a practical English word?

I was amused to find the unusually lengthy word, “Cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust” in Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Watch Out Below!” in December 15 NY-Times. Dowd admits she used a word invented by Jon ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Forming occupational nouns: Why do you say “butcher” and not “butchian” or “butchor”?

Question: Occupational nouns (butcher, sailor, musician, etc.) have various suffixes in English (er, or, ee, ant, etc.). Is there a set of rules to form occupational nouns from the verbs or their ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “re-enqueue” or “reenqueue” a proper word?

This came up while reviewing a technical document: The algorithm could re-enqueue the id associated with the job ... This has generated some discussion as the word does not appear in the ...
2
votes
0answers
854 views

Why does English have so many words when the grammar doesn't allow for concatenating? [closed]

In English the words "mathematics professor" are 2: mathematics professor We get 3 meanings from these 2 words: Mathematics, professor and mathematics professor. In Swedish the words are matematik ...
-1
votes
1answer
322 views

What term describes the relationship between 'collectivism' and 'collectivisation'?

What is collectivism, in terms of grammar, of collectivisation? Put another way: Collectivism is the [which word?] of collectivisation? Another example word pair might be centralism and ...
0
votes
3answers
407 views

“Utilisability” vs. “usability”

I tried hard to find if we have the noun utilisability in dictionaries but it does not exist. But, when goolging, I found some articles that contain this word. I know that we have the verb to use ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “Englishnization” an acceptable term?

There's a company named Rakuten in Japan, which introduced "Englishnization" a couple of years ago. They adopted an internal policy where all the employees are expected to speak English as an official ...
12
votes
3answers
27k views

Which nouns can be used as verbs?

Someone told me that the English language is special (compared to German, at least) in the way that every noun could be used as a verb. I think this phenomenon is called supine. Is this correct? ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Does “neath” have any standalone meaning?

Beneath and underneath both indicate similar concepts, and since under- is a free morpheme in many contexts, is neath a bound morpheme or does it derive from a standalone root? I bring this up since ...
8
votes
1answer
511 views

Morphological process for derivation of the word “ish” from suffix “-ish”?

"Ish" is a recently derived word (free root) conveying a sense of "so-so" or approximation. It is most commonly used as an adjective but occasionally as an adverb. I would not be at all surprised to ...
15
votes
3answers
34k views

Why is the plural form of “life” “lives”, while the plural form of “still life” is “still lifes”?

Why does the plural form of "life" is "lives", while the plural form of "still life" is "still lifes"? From Wikipedia: A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Should I say “domesticable” or “domesticatable”? [closed]

What should I say to sound better, "domesticable" or "domesticatable"?
6
votes
1answer
347 views

“Commutivity” or “commutativity”

I see commutivity used in contexts where the meaning appears to be the same as commutativity. Here are an example from physics and another example. Is commutivity incorrect? Does it differ from ...
5
votes
2answers
638 views

What does “-bot” of “Obama-bot”, “GOP-bot” mean?

I came across the following sentence of the Time magazine’s article (March 22) dealing with the gaffe made by Mitt Romney’s adviser Eric Fehrnstrom who compared the frequent changes of Romney’s ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Rules for forming demonyms

Are there specific rules / conventions at play when creating demonyms? Or are they merely formed organically over time - the most popular winning out? There are many suffixes to choose from, but I ...
6
votes
3answers
960 views

What comes in between predecessor and successor?

I'd like a good word for "current item in a succession of items". Let's say I am looking ahead, towards my successor. Back behind me, I can also see my predecessor. What am I? I'd hate to use the ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Adjective or noun when referring to plural citizenship

What is the right form to use when talking about plural citizenship? "We are Italian" or "we are Italians"? (or American, Or German or any other ending with "*an") Same issue for "Saudi" or "Saudies", ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Does the word “please” come from “plea”?

I thought that the word please came from the plural of plea. But then why is it please instead of just pleas? Why the e? Are "plea" and "please" really related to each other?
11
votes
1answer
4k views

What form of verb is “thank” in “thank you”?

Is the word thank in Thank you! a verb? If not, what part of speech is it then? If it is a verb, is it in the imperative mood? I'm asking because I've seen someone write Do thank you! which ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Can we call a person who loses things a “loser”?

Think > Thinker Draw > Drawer Can we call a person who loses thing a loser? Of course, I do not mean that they are not successful or failed but what should I call them?
8
votes
1answer
815 views

What are the rules for the use of words that have a variant ending in -al? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? “Electric” vs. “electrical” I think I'm clear on the difference between word ...
9
votes
3answers
585 views

Verbed color names and “-en”

"whitened", "blackened", and "reddened"; but "yellowed", "grayed", and "blued". Is there some rule or is it just one of those things? "Greened" makes sense; no one is going to say "greenened". ...
1
vote
2answers
16k views

What is the person called whom you give a recommendation?

If person A gives person B a recommendation, can you call A recommender and B recommendee or are these words made up? I've seen both forms used in everyday language (e.g. magazines), but never in a ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the story behind “a-” prefix / suffix?

For example, If this van's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin' Here We Come A-caroling (song title) Come on-a My House (song title) I have a few related questions: What is the "a-" or "-a" called? ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Morpheme help: How many morphemes does the word “dost” (Shakespeare) have?

How many morphemes does the word "dost" (Shakespeare) have? How many morphemes does the word "thy" have? How many morphemes does the word "thou" have? Are "and", "if", "of", "a", "but", and "in" ...
2
votes
1answer
203 views

“Indexes” or “indices” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the plural of the word “index”? I have a vague thought that indices would be used when index refers to a position in a sequential collection of some ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the words that can't exist without their prefix or suffix? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What do you call words that look like a negation but are not? I found these poor orphaned words that only exist through the life-giving quality of their affix: ...