The office establishment where the Secretaries (say, of a Government) sit is called:

"Secretariat" (without "e" in the end of the word).

Then, why does the office establishment where a Director (say, of a Government) sits is called:

"Directorate" (with "e" in the end of the word)?

Why this difference? Has etymology anything to say in the issue?

  • 2
    Did you create the tag? It should be "spelling", not "speeling". – user140086 Dec 19 '15 at 8:58
  • @Rathony - Sorry! I committed a mistake in that I accidently typed "speeling" in place of "spelling". I am sorry for the mistake. – Dinesh Kumar Garg Dec 19 '15 at 9:24
  • No worry, I think it could be fixed. – user140086 Dec 19 '15 at 9:25

A little time spent with the OED reveals the following. Secretariat is a late (1811) borrowing from the French secrétariat. Similarly-formed words borrowed much earlier, pre-1400, e.g., estat, picked up a final e after that date if their final vowel came to be pronounced long. Similarly-formed words invented after 1400, like directorate (b. ca 1830) were pronounced similarly and spelled by analogy with a final e.

So apparently we borrowed secretariat from the French, and kept the French short final a, requiring no appended e.

We could have borrowed directorat from the French, but instead we apparently coined directorate from director + -ate by analogy with words like estate -- the long final voiced vowel requiring the final unvoiced e.

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