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Re: Portmanteaus for a Conlang

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  • C. Brickner
    ... It combines what? Electricity and execute!! Charlie
    Message 1 of 27 , Apr 24, 2013
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      ----- Original Message -----
      It combines what?

      Electricity and execute!!

      Charlie
    • Padraic Brown
      ... Possibly not. Humpty Dumpty who (according to WP) explains to Alice how the portmanteau words work in that world, seems to be alluding to the (now rather
      Message 2 of 27 , Apr 24, 2013
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        --- On Wed, 4/24/13, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:

        > > Should have gone with your first instinct, then -- I'd
        > > actually heard of Oxbridge! (And managed to port the
        > > name, though not the locality specifics, into
        > > Avantimannish "Ourohhsbrycge". In this case, it's
        > > actually a bridge with carved aurochs at either end.
        > > The nearby town takes its name therefrom.)
        >
        > Which makes me ask myself whether "Oxbridge" is really a
        > portmanteau word, at least in the sense meant by Lewis
        > Carrol.

        Possibly not. Humpty Dumpty who (according to WP) explains to Alice how
        the portmanteau words work in that world, seems to be alluding to the
        (now rather old fashioned) portmanteau luggage -- literally "two
        [luggages] packed up into one [box]" (to borrow from Carrol). But Dumpty
        speaks of "two meanings" in one word, which indicates that things like
        Oxbridge and Kentuckiana are nòt portmanteau words so much as compressed
        abbreviations. These words don't contain "two meanings packed up into one
        word", though! Oxbridge indicates "one meaning spliced together from two
        words". Carrol is doing something a little bit different, but not
        completely unrelated. Both of these combine different words into one new
        word, but Carrol is also combining sense and meaning. That's how I see
        it, anyway.

        > Very recently some of us objected to "chairstand" being
        > called a portmanteau word because both "chair" and "stand"
        > are full morphemes. So, of course, are "ox" and "bridge."
        > Indeed, there is a hamlet called "Oxbridge" in the English
        > county of Dorset.
        >
        > In Carrol's use of the word the two words put, as it were,
        > into the portmanteau are _fused_ together, e.g.
        > slithy <-- slimy + lithe
        > gallumph <-- gallop + triumph
        > chortle <-- chuckle + snort
        > etc.

        Exactly so.

        > As well as post-Carrol coinages such as:
        > smog <-- smoke + fog
        > brunch <-- breakfast + lunch
        > spork <-- spoon + fork
        > etc.
        >
        > None of these are divisible syllable by syllable into
        > separate morphemes.
        >
        > But "Oxbridge" (not the hamlet) is a _shortening_ of
        > "Ox[ford and Cam]bridge."

        Yep. But I think one could get away with it, simply because it is a
        combination of two old into one new entity, more or less as Dumpty says.
        Just look at it as a slightly different model of suitcase! I think we
        can do this because, while etymologically, Oxford is OX + FORD and
        Cambridge is CAM + BRIDGE, realistically I think for many moderns, these
        old place names tend towards irreducibility. Mattaponi and Waldorf are
        local town names. If I combined them into Mattadorf, I don't think it's
        really any different than Oxbridge, just that the original names are rather
        more opaque.

        Padraic

        > -- Ray
      • R A Brown
        ... Or more strictly, the bound morpheme _electro-_ and [exe]cute. The verb & its associated noun _execution_ seems to have been coined in the US in the 1890s
        Message 3 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
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          On 24/04/2013 22:36, C. Brickner wrote:
          > ----- Original Message ----- It combines what?
          >
          > Electricity and execute!!

          Or more strictly, the bound morpheme _electro-_ and
          [exe]cute. The verb & its associated noun _execution_ seems
          to have been coined in the US in the 1890s to describe
          execution by means of the electric chair. It then became
          more generally used to denote any death by electricity,
          whether intended or accidental.
          ===========================================================

          On 25/04/2013 03:08, Padraic Brown wrote:
          > --- On Wed, 4/24/13, R A Brown wrote:
          >
          [snip]
          >>
          >> Which makes me ask myself whether "Oxbridge" is really
          >> a portmanteau word, at least in the sense meant by
          >> Lewis Carrol.
          >
          > Possibly not. Humpty Dumpty who (according to WP)
          > explains to Alice how the portmanteau words work in that
          > world, seems to be alluding to the (now rather old
          > fashioned) portmanteau luggage -- literally "two
          > [luggages] packed up into one [box]" (to borrow from
          > Carrol).

          Correct.

          > But Dumpty speaks of "two meanings" in one word, which
          > indicates that things like Oxbridge and Kentuckiana are
          > nòt portmanteau words so much as compressed
          > abbreviations.

          My point exactly. It seems that earlier replies ignored my
          rider "at least in the sense meant by Lewis Carrol."

          It seems to me that "Oxbridge" does not. That does not mean
          that one may not call it a portmanteau, but that it is not
          IMO a portmanteau _in the sense used by Carrol_.

          > These words don't contain "two meanings packed up into
          > one word", though! Oxbridge indicates "one meaning
          > spliced together from two words". Carrol is doing
          > something a little bit different, but not completely
          > unrelated.

          Sure, the processes are related - but Carrol's are IMO more
          creative :)

          [snip]

          >> But "Oxbridge" (not the hamlet) is a _shortening_ of
          >> "Ox[ford and Cam]bridge."
          >
          > Yep. But I think one could get away with it, simply
          > because it is a combination of two old into one new
          > entity, more or less as Dumpty says. Just look at it as
          > a slightly different model of suitcase! I think we can
          > do this because, while etymologically, Oxford is OX +
          > FORD and Cambridge is CAM + BRIDGE, realistically I think
          > for many moderns, these old place names tend towards
          > irreducibility.

          Oxford perhaps is now less irreducible to urban dwellers who
          have never met a ford in their life (unless it be a car/
          automobile) and to whom "ox" has only a vague bovine
          meaning. But to us who were brought up in the country, the
          meaning is clear enough :)

          Cambridge, I think, is more readily understood as two
          morphemes. "Bridge" is a commonly used word, and place
          names formed by attaching -bridge to a river name are known,
          e.g. Trent bridge (famous cricket ground).

          > Mattaponi and Waldorf are local town names. If I
          > combined them into Mattadorf, I don't think it's really
          > any different than Oxbridge, just that the original names
          > are rather more opaque.

          From a synchronic point of view "Mattaponi" is a single
          morpheme; so, I suspect, is "Waldorf" to most people (though
          some, like me, will see -dorf as a separate morpheme).

          There seems to me to be fuzzy boundaries between formations
          such as:
          slithy <-- slimy + lithe
          smog <-- smoke + fog
          Mettadorf <-- Mattaponi + Waldorf
          Oxbridge <-- Oxford + Cambridge

          The first two clearly meet Carrol's definition; the third
          probably does, but the last one IMO does not. As we cannot
          now ask Lewis Carrol, we can only speculate ;)

          Whether there is any point in using different terms for
          'Carrolian portmanteaus' and compressed abbreviations like
          "Oxbridge" is another matter.
          ========================================================

          On 24/04/2013 20:35, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
          > On 24 April 2013 17:40, R A Brown wrote:
          [snip]
          >> Which makes me ask myself whether "Oxbridge" is really
          >> a portmanteau word, at least in the sense meant by
          >> Lewis Carrol.
          >>
          >>
          > It depends: is it useful to make a distinction?

          That is a different question. What I was asking is whether
          "Oxbridge" is a portmanteau in the sense that Lewis Carrol
          used the word. To me it seems more of a stump compound.
          Whether it is useful to distinguish between such stump
          compounds and Carrolian portmanteaus is another matter.

          [snip]

          >>
          > True, but is "Cam-" really a morpheme? Or is it one of
          > those weird things like the "cran-" of "cranberry"?

          No, Cam certainly is a morpheme; it's the name of a river or
          rather of two different rivers. There is a River Cam in
          Gloucestershire; and on that river you will find a hamlet
          with the name Cambridge :)

          But the city, where the university is, sits on the other
          River Cam, which is a tributary of the Great Ouse is east
          England.

          The name of both the hamlet and the city is thus: 'Cam
          bridge' :)

          =========================================================

          But to revert to the subject line, i.e. .... for a conlang.

          IIRC Loglan _mren_ = "man" is a portmanteau of English
          _man/men_ and Mandarin _ren_.

          I understand Esperanto _ĝardeno_ is a portmanteau of English
          _garden_ and French _jardin_ and/or Italian _giardino_.

          Both these IMO are true Carrolian portmanteaus :)

          --
          Ray
          ==================================
          http://www.carolandray.plus.com
          ==================================
          "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
          for individual beings and events."
          [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
        • Roger Mills
          ... True, but is Cam- really a morpheme? Or is it one of those weird things like the cran- of cranberry ? ... Just to throw my spaniard into the works,
          Message 4 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
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            --- On Wed, 4/24/13, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
            True, but is "Cam-" really a morpheme? Or is it one of those weird things
            like the "cran-" of "cranberry"?
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Just to throw my spaniard into the works, why are the inhabitants of Cambridge (Engl. and Massachusetts) called "Cantabrigians"???? (Ancient history, I know....IIRC also, -bri(c,g)a is a Celtic word-- does it mean "bridge"? It crops up in Spanish place names too.)
          • R A Brown
            On 25/04/2013 12:11, Roger Mills wrote: [snip] ... From _Cantabrigia_, a medieval Latin name for Cambridge UK. It was formed from Middle English _Cantebrigge_.
            Message 5 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
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              On 25/04/2013 12:11, Roger Mills wrote:
              [snip]
              >
              > Just to throw my spaniard into the works, why are the
              > inhabitants of Cambridge (Engl. and Massachusetts)
              > called "Cantabrigians"????

              From _Cantabrigia_, a medieval Latin name for Cambridge UK.
              It was formed from Middle English _Cantebrigge_.

              The Old English name was _Grantebrycge_ - bridge on the
              River _Grante_. The old name of the river is perpetuated in
              the Grantchester, a village in Cambridgeshire, England, made
              famous by Rupert Brook in his poem "The Old Vicarage,
              Grantchester."

              Why the the Old English Grante- changed to Cante- in the
              place name is not clear. But it seems that the name of the
              river was similarly changed. It is now the Cam.

              AFAIK there is no river named Cam that flows through
              Cambridge MA; so I guess that makes Cambridge in MA a single
              morpheme, while Cambridge UK is still fairly obviously 'Cam
              bridge.' :)

              --
              Ray
              ==================================
              http://www.carolandray.plus.com
              ==================================
              "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
              for individual beings and events."
              [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
            • And Rosta
              Regarding the question of whether _Oxford_ and _Cambridge_ are monomorphemic: 1. _Cam-_ in _Cambridge_ rhymes with _shame_, while the river _Cam_ rhymes with
              Message 6 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
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                Regarding the question of whether _Oxford_ and _Cambridge_ are monomorphemic:
                1. _Cam-_ in _Cambridge_ rhymes with _shame_, while the river _Cam_ rhymes with _sham_.
                2. Unlike, say, 'phoneme', there isn't a relatively commonsensical atheoretical definition of 'morpheme'.
                3. On phonological grounds there is a basis for recognizing as a unit the minimal morpho-phonological form such that it does not subdivide into further morpho-phonological forms to which phonological rules are sensitive. _Oxford_ indubitably subdivides into Ox#ford on that basis. So, almost as indubitably, does _Cambridge_ subdivide into _Cam#bridge_. (You will not find any incontrovertibly monomorphemic forms containing /ksf/ or long vowel plus /mbr/.)
                4. IMO all English speakers know that _Oxford_ and _Cambridge_ are made of these two parts, but will differ on the degree to which they recognize the halves as units that recur in other words (including placenames) and on the degree to which they recognize those units as meaningful.

                --And.
              • George Corley
                ... Of course, that is an empirical claim, not just a matter of opinion. I recognize them as such, but we d need to find a way to test this with a large,
                Message 7 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
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                  On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM, And Rosta <and.rosta@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > 4. IMO all English speakers know that _Oxford_ and _Cambridge_ are made of
                  > these two parts, but will differ on the degree to which they recognize the
                  > halves as units that recur in other words (including placenames) and on the
                  > degree to which they recognize those units as meaningful.


                  Of course, that is an empirical claim, not just a matter of opinion. I
                  recognize them as such, but we'd need to find a way to test this with a
                  large, varied sample. That's some tricky business.
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