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Bound morphemes becoming independent words (was: Verb-classifiers and preverbs)

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  • Eldin Raigmore
    On Sat, 3 May 2008 02:10:35 -0400, Carl Banks ... Dang! I logged on this morning eager to say that, but you beat me to it. ... Well,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2008
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      On Sat, 3 May 2008 02:10:35 -0400, Carl Banks <conlang@...>
      wrote:
      >[snip]
      >I think a better example than "ish" is "ism". As in, "I will not
      >tolerate racism, sexism, ageism, or any other isms".

      Dang! I logged on this morning eager to say that, but you beat me to it.

      >The fact that "ism" can be pluralized, but that you can't normally
      >pluralize words with the -ism suffix, indicates that its usage here is
      >as a separate word, and not a suffix with an elided base.
      >
      >I believe the reason "ism" was able to break free is that English
      >speakers tend to parse -ism words as compound words, since -ism is added
      >to a noun and results in a noun. They think of "ism" as a word roughly
      >meaning "focus". Compare the above to the following hypothetical
      >sentence: "I will not tolerate racefocus, sexfocus, agefocus, or any
      >other focuses." See? It's "right" to parse it as a compound in one
      >case, "wrong" in the other, but there's really not much qualitative
      >difference between the two.

      Well, that's better-said than I probably would have said it.

      >Of course what really proves "ism" is a word is it has started serving
      >as the root for other words: words such as "ismism", the belief in
      >(over)emphasizing isms.

      Or "ismish". But has anyone ever heard "ishism"?

      >Carl Banks

      Thanks, Carl.
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