Autodescriptive Linguistic Terms.

“Loanword” is a calque of German “Lehnwort”; “calque” is a loanword from French. Via Speculative Grammarian.

Comments

  1. Once I collected first OED instances of new words for new words:

    http://poetry-contingency.uwaterloo.ca/new-words-for-new-words/

    e.g. first for “neologize” as a verb: 1813 T. Jefferson Let. 16 Aug. in Writings (1984) 1300 Necessity obliges us to neologize.

  2. Ha, that’s great!

  3. I like the fact that “fricative”, “lateral”, “sibilant”, “nasal”, “liquid”, “bilabial” all start with a self-demonstrating consonant. This is also why I like “plosive” more than “occlusive” or “stop”. “Rhotic” also works, tautologically; and some have proposed “shibilant” for /ʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ/ etc.

    Sadly, many other articulatory terms don’t match: “approximant”, “velar”, “affricate” etc.

  4. Trochee, trochee, falling thus…

  5. And what’s up with terms like “loanword” or “borrowing” anyway? If L1 “loans” a word from L2, it’s not like L2 can’t use it anymore, until L1 gives it back. Why not call it “copying”?

    (Well, sometimes they do give a word back: Latin dēlēo, dēlētus was “borrowed” by English as “delete”; meanwhile, in Portuguese shores, dēlēo, dēlēre turned into delir; later, in the New World, delir all but disappeared from the local variant; and, finally, it got the word back from English, as deletar. Latin capparis, the source of English “caper” (the spice), was borrowed from Spanish by Andalusian Arabic and then returned with an extra article as a souvenir; the Spanish (and Portuguese) word is now alcaparra.)

  6. @leoboiko: It’s often been noted that lisp is cruelly named; then there’s sesquipedalophobia (that root again), which I think was coined in jest.

    Also, yeah, I’ve never quite understood that terminology of borrowing or loaning either.

  7. some have proposed “shibilant” for /ʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ/ etc.

    That term seemed so inevitable when I first heard it (over forty years ago now) that I can’t imagine calling them anything else.

  8. Always worth linking again. It took me a while, but I finally figured out “finix” (= infix).

  9. Trond Engen says:

    Old self-defining terms from Norwegian dialectology are apokop and paillaittaillisering. My son coined folkebetymologi.

  10. ‘iamb’ is autocontradescriptive.

  11. paillaittaillisering

    It looks like it means ‘palatalization’ but illustrates gemination. What’s the story?

    iamb

    “What is this line of dactylic hexameter trying to tell me?”

  12. Lame rhyme.

  13. Trond Engen says:

    John C: It looks like it means ‘palatalization’ but illustrates gemination. What’s the story?

    It illustrates both, now that I think of it. Or rather, it illustrates both palatalization and the fact that it’s a feature of the Trøndelag dialect.

    In Norwegian dialect writing, palatalization is traditionally written with <i&gt before the geminate. The Trøndelag dialect (and its neigbours) palatalizes geminated d,t, n, l in stressed syllables, written <idd>, <itt>, <inn> and <ill>. Stressed syllables are long by default in Norwegian, meaning that a loanword like “pala”tali’sering is pronounced as if geminated. This, too, is especially pronounced in the Trøndelag dialect, with its heavy initial stress. This explains the palatalization of both ls. The palatalization of t is because the core area even palatalizes unstressed endings, e.g. the adjective ending -at. A.regular formation pallat (= paillaitt) “pallet-like”, would be homonyous with the beginning of palatalisering.

  14. Trond Engen says:

    I meant to link to this map

  15. The names and characteristics of the Latin participles are self-illustrative, which helps the attentive student recognize them:
    1. The futURe (active) participle always has -UR- between the stem and the case-number-gender endings, and the name comes from Latin futurus, which is the future participle of ‘to be’.
    2. The preseNT (active) participle usually has -NT- between the stem and the case-number-gender endings (-NS in nominative and vocative singular and neuter accusative singular), and the name comes from Latin praesens, praesentis, which is the present participle of ‘to be at hand, be in front’.
    3. The geruNDive, sometimes called the future passive participle, always has -ND- between the stem and the case-number-gender endings, and the name comes from Latin gerundus (archaic form of gerendus), which is the gerundive of ‘to bear, have, hold’ and other really vague meanings.
    4. The perfect passive participle doesn’t have a consistent two-letter bit to help students out, but the name does come from Latin perfectus, which is the perfect passive participle of ‘to finish’.

  16. I could never sort out dactyls spondees anapests and the rest and was annoyed the names were not autodescriptive. So trochee is a trochee? Yeah, I’m not gonna remember that either.

  17. marie-lucie says:

    mollymooly, the names might have been autodescriptive in Greek (I don’t know Greek). To a French student they were quite meaningless because they refer to stress patterns and the French language does not use stress as a meaningful feature. The book of Latin poetry might define the various names with formulas such as: – ‘ ‘, but without even a word illustrating each of them. So we read Virgil and others, without paying any attention to the rhythm of the lines.

  18. Actually in Latin and Greek they refer to length patterns, but (most) French doesn’t have length as a meaningful feature either. Yours does, so historically it did, but evidently not enough to make it the basis for poetry.

  19. @Y:
    > ‘iamb’ is autocontradescriptive.

    Oh boy, I’ve been pronouncing the word as [‘jam̚] this whole time! Had no idea it was disyllabic in English.

    @marie-lucie:

    I’m reminded of Tufte’s “sparklines”: very small line graphs, used inline (mid-text) like words. I’m thinking there’s no reason for a pedagogical text to not print the rhythm formula – « ⁃˘˘ », « ˘⁃˘ » etc. – next to every mention of a traditional term like dactyl ⁃˘˘ , spondee ⁃ ⁃ etc. Right in the middle of text, like, “verse 10 has an anapæst ˘˘⁃ giving it a particular emphasis that” and so on. Perhaps in a different color, or otherwise set apart so as to distinguish the long-marks from regular dashes. Glossary lists for poems could add a metrical-sparkline to every listed word.

  20. That adds an awful lot of characters (and thus cost, in a printed text) for little apparent gain. Is it really that hard for people to either remember the definitions of a few terms or look up the ones they’ve forgotten in the glossary? Textbooks in science don’t explain each technical term every time it’s used.

  21. marie-lucie says:

    leoboiko: Nice idea for a textual edition! I am speaking from my own experience (quite a long time ago). Perhaps more modern editions have adopted something like that. I wonder how much influence this system would have on students’ habits though (starting with the teachers’!). But there is far less demand for Latin in French schools nowadays.

  22. marie-lucie says:

    LH, I see your point. “Every time” might be too much for the whole text, but OK for the first few pages.

  23. Tim May says:

    I could never sort out dactyls spondees anapests and the rest and was annoyed the names were not autodescriptive.

    I recommend the beginning of Coleridge’s poem “Metrical Feet“. It’s how I learned them, anyway.

  24. David Marjanović says:

    Also, yeah, I’ve never quite understood that terminology of borrowing or loaning either.

    The German terminology has an important distinction that hasn’t made it into English: Lehnwort is restricted to loans that are no longer obvious as such to the naive monoglot, while Fremdwort, “foreign word”, is used for those that are.

    I could never sort out dactyls spondees anapests and the rest and was annoyed the names were not autodescriptive.

    Once length is reinterpreted as stress, Dactylus (stress on the first syllable) and Anapäst (stress on the last) are self-descriptive in German.

  25. I use the adjective forms. Iambic is iambic, is it not? And dactylic is dactylic, God wot.

  26. > And dactylic is dactylic, […]

    Not normally: it’s normally stressed on the second syllable. But dactylic meter is much less rare than amphibrachic meter (at least in English), so if you’re going to use “dactylic” as a foot at all, I guess it will probably be with first-syllable stress.

  27. @David Marjanović

    The German terminology has an important distinction that hasn’t made it into English

    James Murray, NED I xix 1888:

    As to their citizenship in the language, words may be classed as Naturals, Denizens, Aliens, and Casuals. Naturals include all native words like father, and all fully naturalized words like street, rose, knapsack, gas, parasol. Denizens are words fully naturalized as to use, but not as to form, inflexion, or pronunciation, as aide-de-camp, locus, carte-de-visite, table d’hote. Aliens are names of foreign objects, titles, etc., which we require often to use, and for which we have no native equivalents, as shah, geyser, cicerone, targum, backsheesh, sepoy. Casuals are foreign words of the same class, not in habitual use, which for special and temporary purposes occur in books of foreign travel, letters of foreign correspondents, and the like. There are no fixed limits between these classes, and the constant tendency is for words to pass upwards from the last to the first.

  28. I don’t quite grasp the difference between his “denizen” and “alien” classes. It seems to be that “aliens” take standard -s plurals while “denizens” make at least optional use of xenophilic plurals, but then why didn’t he list the two classes in reverse order?

  29. it’s normally stressed on the second syllable.

    Good heavens, so it is! I just checked M-W, and that’s the only stress given. Well, all my life I’ve been saying it with initial stress (presumably in imitation of the noun), and I’m not about to stop now.

  30. (Obviously I haven’t said it aloud very often if at all, so I never got corrected.)

  31. Hat: See the line of English dactylic hexameter above.

    Denizens vs. aliens: It’s about use, not really about morphology, as you’d expect from a lexicographer. Denizens are foreign names for native things; aliens are foreign names for foreign things. Of course, what counts as “foreign” has shrunk since Murray’s day.

  32. I suppose. Geysers certainly don’t seem foreign to us present-day Americans, with Yellowstone being an essential part of our national imagery.

  33. Trond Engen says:

    Hat: Well, all my life I’ve been saying it with initial stress (presumably in imitation of the noun), and I’m not about to stop now.

    Proterodactylic stress.

  34. I actually do seem to be changing my usage, because when I was telling my wife about it the stress I’ve been using suddenly sounded wrong to me; my internal peever seems to have already settled on the dictionary version as correct. Sigh. I’m a prescriptivist at heart. Don’t tell anyone!

  35. Is “slenthem” a casual or an alien at this point? (Note that Murray doesn’t doubt that they are all English words.) I note that he says phenomenon, genus, aide-de-camp are all denizens, but I think they are now naturals with foreign plurals.

    Note that the OED3 has given up the attempt to mark denizens, aliens, and casuals with || or any other such mark.

  36. Is “slenthem” a casual or an alien at this point?

    Depends on what circles you’re talking about (or with). If you’re a gamelan musician or write about them (or hang out with them), you require often to use it; if not, you will use it, if at all, for special and temporary purposes.

  37. ‘And what’s up with terms like “loanword” or “borrowing” anyway? If L1 “loans” a word from L2, it’s not like L2 can’t use it anymore, until L1 gives it back. Why not call it “copying”?’

    I am pretty sure that banks use the same definition of loan. One person lets them hold onto $100, and they “loan” out $90 of that. The person that “got the loan” then pays someone else with it. That person puts their new $90 into the same bank. And so on…

    Bank loans are like loanwords. Perhaps we should call it all what it really is. Maybe inflationword is a better term.

  38. God wot — what would that be in the subjunctive?

    The which I ask because I was reminded (in another context) of a subjunctive form in Swedish that is of course fossilized, but in active use: Det vete fan = ‘the devil would know’.

  39. I am pretty sure that banks use the same definition of loan. One person lets them hold onto $100, and they “loan” out $90 of that. The person that “got the loan” then pays someone else with it….

    That’s not how banks on this planet work. (1. The person who gets the $90 loan from the bank is legally obligated to repay it — with interest — some time in the future. 2. There are limits on how much of their deposits banks can loan out.)

    Admittedly, it’s amusing to try to imagine what it would be like if lexical borrowing did work like bank loans… (“OK, English, you borrowed ‘jungle’ from Hindi, so you need to give Hindi two words of equivalent value within the next fifty years…” Or: “I’m sorry, you can’t borrow that word from Latin; that language has loaned out too many words without getting repaid, so it’s bankrupt.”)

  40. God wot — what would that be in the subjunctive?

    OED to the rescue:

    in subjunctive in phr. God or Crist wite.Cf. Middle High German wiȥȥe Crist, etc.

    c1175 Lamb. Hom. 29 Eft, wite crist, heo is ful biter to betene.
    ?c1225 (▸?a1200) Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 184 God hit wite & he hit wat [etc.].
    c1300 Havelok (Laud) (1868) 517 God it wite, he shal ben ded.

  41. @Peter Edwin

    Fractional-reserve banking is the current form of banking practiced in most countries worldwide.

    Try looking it up on Wikipedia.

    Banks generally give up to 90% of their reserves out as loans, and then 90% again on the loan when it is deposited again by someone else, etc. This process is called “deposit multiplication”.

    And, by the way, huge amounts of loans are never repaid. That also is part of the system. It isn’t as bad for the banks as you would suppose, because there is interest being paid by multiple people on the ‘same money’.

  42. God it wite: Thanks, I always forget about all your nice links.

  43. Rodger C says:

    I wonder, does the godwit, the bird, get its name from this phrase? WiPe says, “The English name was first recorded in about 1416–7 and is believed to imitate the bird’s call.”

  44. Is “slenthem” a casual or an alien at this point? (Note that Murray doesn’t doubt that they are all English words.)

    I’m not sure he would count casuals as English; the NED only included those casuals which “approach, or formerly approached, the status of” denizen or alien.

  45. The Final, Complete, Authoritative List of Self-Describing Linguistic Expressions.

    It’s missing the Greek First Compeenatory Lengthening and Second Compeesatory Lengthening.

  46. marie-lucie says:

    RC: the godwit

    I think this case must be like that of whippoorwill in America: a bird call which not only sounds like a potential word in terms of sounds, and is adopted as such (like chickadee) but like an actual word or potential phrase in the hearers’ language, which becomes its name.

  47. I learned very late that linguists pronounce trochee iambically, /ˈtroʊki/. I’d previously thought of it as a trochaic /troʊˈkeɪ/, as in trochaic.

  48. The converse error to mine with dactylic.

  49. I got confused here. What I meant to say was, trochee and iamb are both trochaic. I’d mistakenly thought trochee was iambic.

  50. tadbhava and tatsama are both tatsama words.

  51. Important question: Is “non-autodescriptive” autodescriptive?

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