A couple of points raised at our last round table:
As Iveta Rokytova points out in Prekladatelska problematika ceskych
zdrobnelin v anglictine (Casopis pro moderni filologii 1993 (2)),
English actually has _more_ diminutive endings than Dutch or German,
but these endings (-kin, -ikin, -ikins, -let, -ling, -et, ette,
-ie,-y, -ee, -ies, -o, -er) are simply not called upon as much as they
are in many other European languages. Endearment and familiarity are
often expressed in English by little words like 'little', 'old',
'little old' 'cute', 'wee' etc.
I would just add that English diminutives do, of course, crop up a lot
more in such linguistic twilight zones as intimate language, family
language and baby talk. And in dialect. I used to know a Glaswegian
who would often refer approvingly to everyday objects with
diminutives, e.g. a wee hoosie = a house.
If you want to exchange your Czech, Slovak or English for Klingon or
whatever via Skype, e-mail, messaging etc, I'd recommend the following
totally free sites.
...well worth exploring;
and click on 'languages'.
Hours of fun for all the family.
I mentioned an online French (plus Spanish and Italian) dictionary
that links in with extensive forum (diskusni server?) discussions of
awkward terms (just as Leo does with German). Many of you will know it
Heat generation unit? Any other bright ideas for the kind of thing
that heats blocks of flats?
And then we touched on the subject of words of American origin in
British English. Bill Bryson has a long list of such surprising items
as: commuter, bedrock, snag, striptease, cold spell, gimmick (but
BrEng exported 'gadget' to America, along with miniskirts, smog and
radar inter alia), baby-sitter, lengthy, sag, soggy, teenager,
telephone, typewriter, radio, to cut no ice, to butt in, to sidetrack,
hangover, fudge, joyride, bucket shop, blizzard, stunt, law-abiding,
to notify, to park, to rattle (in the sense of to unnerve) and many
more, not to mention words originally in British English such as
frame-up, which the OED termed obsolete in 1901, "little realizing
that it would soon be reintroduced to its native land in a thousand
gangster movies." (Mother Tongue pp 164-165).
As I see we have some roundabout-building mania here in the Czech
Republic at the moment (and a good thing too), it may also be worth
noting that 'roundabout' was also originally coined by an American.
The British previously referred to 'gyratory circuses'.
And your cry-baby whiny-assed opinion would be...?