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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12
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1answer
473 views

Ordering of English sound changes in verbal morphology

As we all know, the Early Modern English 3sg verbal ending -eth has become -s in Modern English. This presumably happened in two steps: Elision of the unstressed e in the final syllable Changing ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Isn't the word “uninstall” wrong?

I've never understood this. Why is the proper usage "uninstall"? You can't actually "unin" something at all and this isn't that case with most (all?) other use cases. Examples: You make someone ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How did 'anyway' become 'anyways,' anyway?

All of the time I see people use these two words synonymously. For example: Why did he move there anyway? Versus: Why did he move there anyways? I always assumed that there was once just ...
6
votes
3answers
445 views

Where does the -en come from in misshapen?

We can say both misshapen and misshaped. Where does the misshapen form come from? What other words use this form?
1
vote
5answers
3k views

Is “incomplex” a legitimate word?

I want to create a poster titled "An Incomplex Introduction to Complexity-based Cryptography." As you see, it contrasts the words incomplex and complexity. (Words like simple or easy do not provide ...
59
votes
5answers
5k views

Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”?

I just came across a course name: Geometric and Theoretical Optics. The mismatched endings bug me. Why do we have both -ical and -ic endings? Is there any difference in meaning between, say, ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I form a word like “quadruple” for any number I want?

I'm not sure what these are called, but how can I form a word like "quadruple" for any number I want? Like 5× as much is quintuple, what is 31× as much or 147× as much? I want to know how they are ...
32
votes
3answers
31k views

What’s the rule for adding “-er” vs. “-or” when nouning a verb?

What’s the rule to decide whether you add -er or whether you add -or when creating a noun from a verb? Sometimes it’s -er: read > reader hate > hater hit > hitter But other times it’s -or: ...
2
votes
2answers
442 views

How to say “the quality of being accomplished”?

"to tire" is to become exhausted. "tired" means exhausted. "tiredness" is the state of being exhausted. Similarly, "to accomplish" means to complete a goal (let's say), "accomplished" means completed, ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?

I'm trying to find out how come we say lucky me and stupid us rather than lucky I and stupid we. My understanding is that this is not a recent invention, but a relic from the distant past where it was ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

If I invent a word, what language is it?

I invented a word using medical terminology, Latin and maybe a bit of Greek. (I'm not honestly sure of the etymology of all the morphemes.) Considering that this word is primarily not of English ...
17
votes
4answers
7k views

Is there a rule for which suffix to use when creating adjectives from nouns?

There are many suffixes that are used to create adjectives from nouns (-al, -ic, -ive, -y). Are there any rules used to create adjectives from nouns? In example, why is the adjective excessive, and ...