1

Especially when they both derive from Endodontist and Dentist respectively, so context doesn't vary much.

I found many answers on the web explaining that -ic and -ical suffixes don't follow any rule as such and that -ology words tend to favour -ical and never use -ic, but the -al suffix is largely ignored in most discussions.

  • 2
    Dental does not derive from dentist – where did you get that idea? Both are Latin words derived from dēns, but they are separate derivations. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 16 '19 at 12:07
  • I see! Then is there no particular rule/reason for these suffixes being different? And thanks! – Bhavika Khare Aug 18 '19 at 11:42
  • They’re both productive derivational suffixes in Latin – as with most productive suffixes, they both carry an awful lot of very broad and specific meanings that intersect in very complex ways. Why two words with those meanings were derived using those particular suffixes is probably not something we can ever know – possibly even the (pre-)Latin speakers who first coined them didn’t even really know themselves. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 18 '19 at 11:46
  • Thanks! :) I understand now. – Bhavika Khare Aug 28 '19 at 8:27
2

The adjective-forming suffix -al is originally from Latin (in the form -alis). The adjective-forming suffix -ic existed originally in both Latin (in the form -icus) and in Greek (in the form -ικός), but Greek -ικός was used more freely to form new adjectives than Latin -icus. So a large proportion of -ic words are from Greek, while a smaller proportion of -al words are from Greek. (The combined suffix -ical developed later as an extension of -ic, so like -ic, -ical also tends to occur in words with a Greek origin.)

Dental is built on the Latin word for tooth, dens (with the stem dent-), while endodontic is built on the Greek word for tooth, ὀδούς (with the stem odont-).

|improve this answer|||||
0

Dental does not derive from Dentist but they both derive from the root 'dens'.

There is no specific reason for the suffixes being different here, because languages are too complex and each suffix has multiple meanings.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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