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

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-3
votes
1answer
367 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
613 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
666 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
437 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
825 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
484 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
969 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
724 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
732 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
288 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
1answer
313 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 ...
6
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
21k 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
454 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
20k 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
960 views

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

What should I say to sound better, "domesticable" or "domesticatable"?
6
votes
1answer
265 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
540 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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
753 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
1k 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
3k 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
2k 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?
7
votes
1answer
648 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
410 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
11k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
3k 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? ...
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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
191 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
3k 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: ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does the verb “succeed” change to “successor” as a noun?

Can someone explain the why the verb succeed changes to successor as a noun and not succeeder? Why the double s?
13
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2answers
1k views

Is it true that a word ending in -y is more likely to be an adjective than a noun?

Claim: a word ending in -y is most likely not a noun but an adjective. Don't have my tagged corpus handy to check. Anyone have the stats on Parts-Of-Speech of words ending in y and assuming they ...
4
votes
3answers
533 views

Progressive form of “beware”

I am reading a book, called Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the Structure of English. At the beginning of chapter 2, when discussing the inflectional morphology of English verbs, the author says: The ...
4
votes
2answers
543 views

Is it possible to regard “vacant” and “vacancy” as allomorphs (variants) of the same root in Modern English?

Am I right to consider /΄veikənt/ and /΄veikəns/ in those words as variants of one and the same root morpheme in Modern English. But it makes me hesitate in my morphemic division if we take for ...
5
votes
1answer
437 views

Can we regard “lecture” as a monomorphemic word in Modern English?

Judging by the derivative chain lecture appears to be the root itself (comp. lecture, lectur-er, lecture-ship, un-lectur-ed etc.). But I'm not sure if it can be divided by analogy with failure (to ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Rules for nominalizing a verb

To nominalize a verb, you sometimes use the gerund. to happen --> a happening Sometimes it's a different word. to arrive --> an arrival so we don't write to arrive --> an *arriving ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Morphological or syntactic conversion? [closed]

When a noun is used as a verb, linguistically, this process is termed as morphological conversion: Fish (n): This is a fish. Fish (v): I'm fishing in the river. Why shouldn't we call it ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

Origin of pluralisation of verbs and nouns in English

From this question, I was just wondering why plural nouns use the ending -s, while the exact same ending is used for the third person singular form of verbs. How did we get into this weird situation? ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What word has the greatest morpheme to syllable ratio?

I am curious how tightly packed morphemes can be in English words. Do any of you happen to know which English word has the most morphemes per syllable, or know how to find out? These are the best ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Is there a maximum number of suffixes that can be added to an English word?

You can add various derivational and inflectional suffixes on to most English words to create new longer words (or forms of words). But is there a definite or theoretical maximum that can be added in ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Number of morphemes in “saw” (As in, I saw the cat)

Does the word "saw" contain more than one morpheme? If so, how is this possible in such a short word? Are there any other words of this length that have multiple morphemes? I have just started ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

Does a gerund always end with -ing? If so, why?

After asking what the difference is between a gerund and a participle, I began to wonder if all gerunds end with -ing, since I couldn't think of any that didn't. If they do, why?
3
votes
2answers
478 views

Is it possible to regard -id as a suffix forming adjectives in Modern English?

The morphemic status of -id can be proved by its regular occurrence in Modern English adjectives (mostly of Roman origin): horrid, stupid, rapid, acid, sordid, valid, solid, etc.
3
votes
2answers
336 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English evacuate and vacuum?

They both are cognates (it can be easily proved by many etymological sources). The question is : Is it possible to consider VAC as a common root for evacuate and vacuum (we may go further - vacation, ...
8
votes
2answers
867 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English ambassador, embassy?

If there were no such a word as embassy, I would consider ambassad as a root and -or as an agent derivational suffix here. But embassy makes me puzzled. If we accept that segmentation shold be done ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Where is the root morpheme in the Modern English word “absent”?

I can't say whether the root morpheme in "absent" is "ab-" or "abs-". (From an etymological point of view, ab- appears to be a negative prefix -- from M.Fr. absent (O.Fr. ausent), from L. absentem ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Where is the root in these words: miniature, minimal, minimize?

Is it possible to identify one and the same root MIN in all these words: Miniature, minimal, minimize, minimum minor, minority, minus, minute ? From etymological point of view they all came from one ...
5
votes
2answers
806 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English abortion?

The question is not so easy as it seems. Let's analyze some derivatives: abortion, abortive, abortiveness, abortionist. The analysis of derivational suffixes (-ion, -ive, ive+ness etc.) helps to ...