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Re: Portmanteaus for a Conlang

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  • 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 1 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
      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 2 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
        --- 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 3 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
          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 4 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
            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 5 of 27 , Apr 25, 2013
              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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