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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10
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3answers
2k 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? ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

“Jesus is a coming” - what's the exact grammatical role of the “a” before the gerund? [duplicate]

I've noticed that in the common use of English, namely in songs, there is also an extra redundant(?) "a" before a gerund, such as in a gospel song I heard Jesus is a coming (this particular ...
11
votes
4answers
5k 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

“Inter-”, “multi-”, “cross-”, “trans-” in relation to disciplines

In academia the words inter-discipline, multi-discipline, trans-discipline, or cross-discipline are used to describe a type of combination between different disciplines or the uniqueness of a field. ...
0
votes
2answers
682 views

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

What should I say to sound better, "domesticable" or "domesticatable"?
5
votes
2answers
446 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
59 views

Is “Universityhood” a valid English word? [closed]

This is a theme during the foundation day of a college, "Nurturing Elders' Legacy and Aspiring for Excellent Quest as a Keystone into University". Isn't it universityhood instead of just university? ...
1
vote
3answers
55 views

“Silence” and “silently”: What is the name of the relation between these words?

Consider: Silence is a noun. Silent is an adjective. Silently is an adverb. Silence! is an interjection. Not sure how these words actually evolved, but they were likely all derived from the noun ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

“Stadiums” vs. “stadia” [duplicate]

I'm not that old, but when I was a child/teen, stadia was the common term. As in: Wembley, the Nou Camp, and the Santiago Bernabeu are football stadia. The MCG and Lord's are cricket stadia. ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

“Napoleon complex” or “Napoleonic complex”? [closed]

Which is correct: "he has a Napoleon complex" or "he has a Napoleonic complex"?
-1
votes
2answers
274 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?
0
votes
1answer
56 views

What it the morphological classification of the ending -ump? [duplicate]

Can someone tell me how to classify the morpheme -ump, such as can be combined with lump,slump, bump, etc. (It's for a research I'm doing on onomatopoeia.) thanks
0
votes
0answers
39 views

is -ump a morpheme?

Can someone explain how to classify a sequence like -ump in morphemics? Even though it is neither inflectional, grammatical, nor unbound, this meaningful particle can become distributed into a series ...
1
vote
1answer
487 views

Usage of the noun suffix “-ment”

What is a good rule for the usage of the noun suffix -ment? Is desirement as acceptable as achievement?
2
votes
5answers
1k views

No coffee, no workee - meaning

No coffee, no workee What does that expression exactly mean? And how do you pronounce it?
4
votes
1answer
129 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
1answer
251 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"?
0
votes
2answers
250 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
137 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
164 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 ...
26
votes
3answers
18k 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: ...
11
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
485 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, ...
15
votes
2answers
883 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
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
98 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
74 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
418 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
vote
2answers
98 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
15k 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? ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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. ...
1
vote
3answers
139 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?
9
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
659 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
199 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k 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?
1
vote
1answer
423 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
2k 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
217 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.
8
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
4k 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?
5
votes
1answer
384 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
697 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
605 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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
473 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
402 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 ...