8

On a programming site, I noticed

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/37460404/unexplained-increasement-of-variable

a beautiful word use, "increasement."

Is there a term for, or how would you refer to, that - where you take a word, and use a different "form" of it.

So, you're making up a new "form" of a word which has never been seen before, but it makes sense based on variant "forms" of other words.

(This is sometimes done for humorous effect; and small children sometimes do it: in the example at hand it's just plain pretty.)

By the way notice I use "form" above ... perhaps it is not the best term (maybe there's another term, something like "tense" or ?)


Further - relatedly, it occurs to me that children learning language, particularly do this (often humorously to us adults). Surely, there's a term for this when children do it, since there's plenty of academic interest in such things.

closed as primarily opinion-based by user66974, curiousdannii, tchrist, vickyace, NVZ May 28 '16 at 18:31

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Encyclopædia Britannica: Inflection, formerly flection or accidence, in linguistics, the change in the form of a word (in English, usually the addition of endings) to mark such distinctions as tense, person, number, gender, mood, voice, and case. Are you asking for a term for "non-standard inflection"? Why do you say non-standard increasement is a "beautiful word use"? – FumbleFingers May 26 '16 at 12:37
  • 1
    performant is a similarly new use of the word performance – NVZ May 26 '16 at 12:52
  • @Josh61 - thanks for that. It looks like the agglutinator who agglutinated unknowingly was also unaware of the archaicismality. – Fattie May 26 '16 at 14:10
  • @FumbleFingers - ahh, "inflection", thanks for that. However, how does that interact with "agglutination", do you know? Are they basically similes ... or not really? – Fattie May 26 '16 at 14:11
  • 2
    @Joe: My bad - I hadn't noticed that answer. I think some people consider agglutination to be a sub-set of inflection, contrasted with fusional inflection, and I can easily get my head around the idea that agglutinated words all have bits tacked onto them, whereas some inflected ones have their form altered by other means. I also think agglutinative is more often an attribute of certain languages, but you inflect words (languages aren't usually called "inflective"). – FumbleFingers May 26 '16 at 16:22
14

Perhaps you mean the process of attaching suffixes and/or prefixes to a root word to make a whole family of related words, like hand, handy, handiness, unhand, unhanded, and so on. The name for that is agglutination and languages that rely on this kind of word growth for their grammar are called agglutinative. The word itself is an example of Latin agglutination.

  • the formation of derivational or inflectional words by putting together constituents of which each expresses a single definite meaning.

(M-W)

  • magnificent, agglutination. The example at hand is a beautifully agglutinationiseder term. Thanks! – Fattie May 26 '16 at 14:07
3

When you make up a new word, generally, it's called a "neologism". Does that fit here?

Neologism: (noun)

  1. a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.
  2. the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.
  3. a new doctrine, especially a new interpretation of sacred writings.
  4. Psychiatry. a new word, often consisting of a combination of other words, that is understood only by the speaker: occurring most often in the speech of schizophrenics.

(Dictionary.com)

  • 1
    It's an outstanding point but I'd perhaps think that neologism is the genus and agglutination the species here. The neologism at hand is an agglutination! Thanks! – Fattie May 26 '16 at 14:08
2

Increasement is already a word.

But I would offer this Calvin and Hobbes strip:

Although in this case I suppose you're nouning a noun.

Edit: More seriously, you might consider using the verb suffixing:

append, especially as a suffix.

  • hi Kev! Increasement is an example. Do you have any idea of an answer to the question? As I mention, it's a pretty common phenomenon (small children often do it). The writer in the example at hand did it accidentally (having no clue "increasement" is an archaic word.) Anyway as I say it's an example, the best answers so far are "agglutination" and "inflection". – Fattie May 26 '16 at 15:48
  • @JoeBlow My answer is nouning, but that's a joke based on the Calvin and Hobbes strip. You might also consider prefixing or suffixing. I've edited my answer to include that as an option. – Kevin Workman May 26 '16 at 15:54
  • "nouning" is a good idea. It's true that verbing and nouning are ubiquitous in English, quite. you can use almost any word as a verb in English - it's great. – Fattie May 26 '16 at 16:09
1

Cobbled together from earlier comments...

Inflection, formerly flection or accidence, in linguistics, the change in the form of a word (in English, usually the addition of endings) to mark such distinctions as tense, person, number, gender, mood, voice, and case.
(Encyclopædia Britannica)

Agglutination is a process in linguistic morphology derivation in which complex words are formed by stringing together morphemes without changing them in spelling or phonetics. (Wikipedia)

Some people consider agglutination to be a sub-set of inflection, contrasted with fusional inflection.
(reddit/linguistics)


The general idea being that agglutinated words always have (meaningful) bits tacked onto them, whereas some inflected ones have their form altered by other means. Thus I think quicksilver, for example, is an example of agglutination, whereas quickly is a simple adverb-forming inflection.

I also think agglutinative is more often an attribute of certain languages (of which English is not considered to be one), but you inflect words (languages aren't usually called "inflective").

  • interesting: we have the question "in a given language, what paradigm of inflection is most common?" So, you feel that in English, inflection is usually not commonly done by agglutination, compared to other languages? So, in contrast, you're thinking perhaps German, say, is agglutination-wise [joke] in terms of inflection? – Fattie May 27 '16 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Joe: I note Don't confuse agglutination with noun compounds. For German to have agglutination in its nouns would mean, for example, that it had completely separate plural and case morphemes either or both of which may be present or absent but in a fixed order in a comment to a related Linguistics.SE question. That rather suggests German isn't really considered a good example of an agglutinative language (it's barely mentioned in my Wikipedia article link). – FumbleFingers May 27 '16 at 15:53
  • scheisse - that makes total sense; of course you're right. In any event, you make a fantastic point that actually English does not really prefer agglutination for its accidence. Awesome. – Fattie May 27 '16 at 16:02
  • 1
    @Joe: I should have answered rather than commenting before (it's probably too late for my answer to overtake EditingFrank's agglutinative now). All I can say is I didn't know as much about this issue then as I do now (having looked into things a bit), and I assumed we'd prolly get a real linguist's take anyway. And I suspect now that adding -ment to increase wouldn't count as agglutination, since you can't really say it's a "morpheme" with an intrinsic "meaning" - it's just a suffix that changes the syntactic role of a word (i.e. - forces/allows it to be a noun). – FumbleFingers May 27 '16 at 16:17
  • 1
    based on your comment "And I suspect..." it could be I misunderstand what agglutinative means, or I have too simplistic an understanding. I will delve further, thx – Fattie May 27 '16 at 16:31
0

Nice answers here already, but the problem with agglutination is that it's a very unusual word that most people will be unfamiliar with. Indeed it sounds rather like the process of adding gluten to something...

I would myself go for more of a comedic term which is itself agglutinated: I would call it Extenderization. Everyone can relate to that term and smile at its usage ;)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.