Is it possible to consider -on, -eron as suffixes (as they are in Middle French)?


The etymologies for talon and mushroom are not completely settled, but in both cases it seems clear that the Middle English word (talon or mussheron) was imported (from Old French) in its full form:

  • the Old French talon comes from Latin talonem, from talus (my French Littré qualifies talonem of “fictious form of talus”, etymonline calls it “Middle Latin”).
  • mussheron is reported to come from Anglo-French musherun, “perhaps from Late Latin mussirionem

As such, it doesn't seem logical to consider -on or -eron as English suffixes. At least, not on the basis of these two examples.

There is one modern use of -on as a suffix, which is unrelated to your question as I understand it, in science. The New Oxford American Dictionary says:

-on (suffix, Physics, Biochemistry & Chemistry, forming nouns)

  1. denoting subatomic particles or quanta: neutron, photon.
  2. denoting molecular units: codon.
  3. denoting substances: interferon.
  • Um...somehow I don't think that disproves -on or -eron as a suffix in Middle French.
    – Thursagen
    Jun 3 '11 at 8:03
  • 3
    @Third Idiot: please read again. The question isn't about Middle French (1. it would be off topic; 2. -on and -eron sure are suffixes in Middle French, as they are in Modern French). It's about Middle English, in which -on and -eron are not suffixes to my understanding: those two examples don't show it, and I know of no example that would show it.
    – F'x
    Jun 3 '11 at 8:06
  • Yep, Understood. BTW, could you perhaps show that "talon", and "muscheron" are not derivatives?
    – Thursagen
    Jun 3 '11 at 8:11
  • Thank you, everyone, especially Third idiot. That's the way I thought and considered those two words as roots in ME. I appreciate it much that you confirmed my ideas concerning morphemic analysis!!!
    – subic
    Jun 3 '11 at 9:42

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