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Confusing exampleEdit

Wait a sec. Is it just me, or does the definition for sense 1 imply that "blog" is a morpheme of Grecian origin? —RuakhTALK 01:33, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Nah. I’d say it’s pretty obvious that the -o- it refers to is blogosphere (note, though you probably knew anyway, that blog comes from (we)b + -log(ue)). Of course, feel free to change the example to something less ambiguous (I can only think of Islamofascist off the top of my head, but that may seem inappropriate). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:05, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh, wait a sec! It does imply that web is a word of Grecian origin. A better example is needed. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:44, 30 September 2007 (UTC) –It seems like I misunderstood your comment.


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Just as en- -en was nominated for deletion for making an assertion that English has a new part of speech (which it doesn't,) this too I think should be deleted. --Connel MacKenzie 15:07, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

As the entry describes, -o- is an infix inserted interconsonantally between two morphemes (of Greek origin) in order to aid pronunciation. A good example of its occurrence is in conjuction with -logy, which most of the time becomes -ology but on rare occassions does not need the preceding -o- as the prefix ends in a vowel (as in genealogy). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:16, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps that is true in Greek, but the assertion being made by this entry is that it is an English language phenomenon, which it is not. The fact that we have separate suffixes "-logy" and "-ology" in English is precisely because we don't have any such thing as an "Infix." --Connel MacKenzie 15:24, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
But it is an English language phenomenon, as people who coin neologisms from Grecian morphemes invariably insert an -o- (and not an -a-, -e-, -i-, or -u-) between morphemes which connect by consonants, but not between morphemes which connect vowel-to-consonant. The suffix -ology is just an extremely common coöccurrence of -o- with -logy. It is because of this infix that words such as hypernym are coined by people who mistake the -onym suffix for a coöccurrence of -o- and -nym, where hyperonym is the correct construction. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:42, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Once a word is borrowed into English, the source language's rules are rarely followed for subsequent word formation. --Connel MacKenzie 07:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
That depends, chiefly, upon the awareness1 of the coiner, but also upon how familiar2 the rules of the morpheme’s language-of-origin are to the audience and upon the context3 in which the neologism is to be used; as evidenced hereinafter:
  1. See the 1994 citation in the entry for technopoleis («“Techno” reflects an emphasis on technology; “polis” is Greek for city-state and suggests a balance between public and private sectors. The plural form of the word “polis” is “poleis”; therefore, we use the plural “technopoleis” rather than “technopolises” or “technopoli”»).
  2. The “‘-us’ → ‘-i’” rule is familiar to most educated speakers of English, which is why a fair few words are hypercorrectly pluralised therewith (such as octopi), many words pluralised with ‘-uses’ will actually sound more strange than those pluralised with ‘-i’ (as in the case of cactuses / cacti), and people can use the pattern to humorous effect without seeming nerdy (such as when a popular television presenter here in the UK recently said: “…and then we’ll decide which one of our Jesuses [pause] or I could have said Jesi [audience chortles] is the best…”). Compare the above case of the rule for forming plurals of Latin masculine nouns of the second declension with the German one of “+‘-er’” — poltergeists and zeitgeists are mentioned far more often than poltergeister and zeitgeister (although, how zeitgeist is pronounced can affect which plural sounds better — if as IPA(key): /ˈzaɪtgaɪst/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ, then choose “+‘-s’”, but if as IPA(key): /ˈʦaɪtgaɪst/ obsolete or nonstandard characters (ʦ), invalid IPA characters (ʦg), replace ʦ with t͡s, g with ɡ, opt for “+‘-er’”; the same goes for wunderkind — as the standard pronunciation is IPA(key): /ˈvʊndəkɪnd/, and not IPA(key): /ˈwəndəkɪnd/, wunderkinder is relatively common). Another example is affidavit — noöne (not even I) writes affidaverunt (the etymologically consistent plural) as it looks and sounds so horrible and is such an unfamiliar way of forming plurals.
  3. Multiple highly intelligent people are generally geniuses, whereas a number of spirits tied to particular places would usually be genii. The Grecian and Latinate terminology-laden academic context of taxonomy meant that when taxonomists of the 1920s back-formed a word for a taxonomic group with unspecified rank, they chose taxon, with the plural as taxa (and not taxons).
The malformed hypernym can be attributed to ignorance on the coiner’s part. How significant such errors are is in part a matter of opinion. However, I would argue that affixes should be used consistently in a language (and preferably translingually too), as consistent usage makes it a lot easier to deduce the (etymological) meaning of a word from its parts (which is a boon when trying to learn specialised vocabulary which tends to be mostly Grecian or Latinate in origin). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the infix as described is highly dubious, and even if it exists it is no longer generative. But what about terms like "Joke-o-rama" and "Smell-o-Vision"? This "-o-" seems like a generative affix-like-thingy of some kind. -- Visviva 15:46, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
If kept, it needs a rewrite. The American Heritage describes it this way: "Used as a connective to join word elements: acidophilic." If it could be rewritten in regular English, such as the AHD uses, then it would be okay to keep. The en- -en case is just silly...the prefix and the suffix are not one thing. In enliven, en- is added to -liven, and liven with -n is one of the two ancient ways of forming a past participle (the other being lived with -d). —Stephen 17:21, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't see an acceptable heading we can use to describe that "connective" though. It could perhaps be mentioned in an appendix on grammar (which we really should have.) --Connel MacKenzie 07:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
However the entry for -o- is rewritten, we have to give it a header, and what alternative is there to “infix”? The homographic infix which Visviva describes, like the Grecian one, does not carry any meaning. I would guess that “-o-rama” and “-o-matic” come from diorama and automatic, respectively, whilst “-o-vision” comes from television, but that the ‘e’ was changed to an ‘o’ under the influence of “-o-rama”, “-o-matic”, and the Grecian -o- infix. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't make sense for the -en in enliven to be a past participle suffix, as enliven is a base verb and not an adjective or a past participle. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:39, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
These aren't ancient times, either...he wasn't suggesting that rule still applies, he was describing where it came from. --Connel MacKenzie 07:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but where is his evidence? Can he show a use of this “liven”, and if so, can he show when this word (either as liven or as enliven) morphed from an adjective / past participle into a regular verb? It just sounds a bit unlikely to me. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:18, 4 June 2007 (UTC) ··· It looks like “liven up” exists, but this is a regular verb — its use as a past participle or adjective needs to be shown. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:29, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Um, what? Where did he say English, and what are you talking about? And what references do you have that assert the English language now accepts "Infix" as a common part of speech? Following the rules you suggest, "still-life" would instead be "still-o-life." That sounds a little incredulous to me. --Connel MacKenzie 23:33, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Connel, you are confusing the original Grecian infix with the one discussed by Visviva. Neither still nor life are Grecian, and therefore do not take -o- or any other infix when joined together (however, bee-eater, whose etyma are both Saxon, does take a pronunciatory infix — that is, when the IPA(key): /biː/ of bee meets the IPA(key): /iːtə/ of eater, the resulting pronunciation adds an epenthetic glottal stop: IPA(key): /biːʔiːtə/ — but that does not involve a change in spelling). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Ancient means not English. It’s found in many Indo-European languages and was already present in Proto-Indo-European, from the Germanic languages to Slavic and Aryan. While -d has developed additional uses in English, such as "having" or "with" (long-haired means having long hair, it is not the past tense of a verb "to long hair"), and -n has developed causative force (blacken, darken, sweeten). the prefix en- is completely unrelated. —Stephen 02:42, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, by “ancient” I thought you meant “from the deepest roots of Old English” (well, ancient includes that, but is not limited thereto). OK, why, do you believe, that en- was added to liven, which would already have been a verb (or vice versa — why, do you believe, that -(e)n was added to enlive, which would already have been a verb)? Or do you think that enliven was formed in some other way? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

(returning to margin) FWIW, the OED gives the etymology of "enliven, v." as "[f. EN-1 + LIFE + -EN5; see ENLIVE.]". The relevant sense of "en-, prefix1" is B. 2. b. "Verbs formed (with sense as above) on adjs. or ns. with the prefix en- and the suffix -EN5, as ENLIVEN, ENLIGHTEN. Most of these verbs were formed by prefixing en- to an already existing verb in -en; but a considerable number seem to be directly f. the adj. or n. on the analogy of those of the former class. For examples see 3. —RuakhTALK 21:57, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

I’m having difficulty understanding the last part (“a considerable number seem to be directly f. the adj. or n. on the analogy of those of the former class”) — could you “translate” it using layman’s terms for me please? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 22:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I should probably have given more context. If I may paraphrase … the OED explains that en- can be prefixed to a noun or adjective to form a verb with the sense "to bring into a condition/state of <noun>/<adjective>-ness". (It then gives a bunch of examples, most of them marked obscure, and even the non-obscure ones are unfamiliar to me.) In the next subsense, it explains that en- was often added in combination with -en, clarifying that while in most cases the en- was added to an already-existing verb in -en, in many cases it en- and -en seem to have been added simultaneously to the noun or adjective, rather than going through an intermediate -en-only verb state. What the OED doesn't mention is that en- -en is clearly redundant; and it also doesn't mention the potential for analyzing it as a single circumfix rather than a pair of affixes that go together. —RuakhTALK 04:02, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
I see, thanks for the clarification. Well, whether it calls it such or not, the phenomenon the OED is describing is circumfixing — the simultaneous affixing of a word with both a prefix and a suffix. Firstly, it should be noted that circumfixes are not totally alien to English — a- -ing and y- -t are archaïc English present participle and past participle circumfixes, respectively (which means that even if en- -en and em- -en are rejected, we would still need a Category:English circumfixes for those two). Secondly, it seems fairly clear that en- -en is not a circumfix which comes to us from the misty forgotten roots of Old English. I hypothesise that, as the OED describes, “[m]ost of these verbs were formed by prefixing en- to an already existing verb in -en”, but that after a while, this seeming redundancy of affixes mutated in Anglophones’ minds (let’s not forget that language ultimately exists in the inner semantic structures of our minds) to become, not a separate prefix and suffix, but a single circumfix — en- -en. This would explain why the writers of the Simpsons script, when in need of a nonce synonym for enlarge opted not for “embig” and nor for “biggen”, but rather for the circumfixed “embiggen”. What’s more, the Simpsons usage shows that not only does e(n/m)- -en exist, but that it is also productive (albeit rarely) — which is more than can be said for y- -t and a- -ing, which nowadays are used almost always to affect an archaïc style. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 10:28, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Ahem. w:WP:NOR. Delete. --Connel MacKenzie 05:18, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Ahem. w:WP:NOR. Irrelevant. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 22:18, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
"Citing sources and avoiding original research are inextricably linked: the only way to demonstrate that you are not presenting original research is to cite reliable sources that provide information directly related to the topic of the article, and to adhere to what those sources say."

Did you read the article, or just dismiss it because it was on Wikipedia? In what circumstances would original research ever be allowed? This isn't "irrelevant;" using citations instead of making Wiktionary into a soapbox for your personal opinions is just as important here as on Wikipedia. Dmcdevit·t 22:46, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Because it was on Wikipedia. (Although, I don’t really dismiss it — I was simply replying in kind to Connel’s smug riposte.) I’m not applying any of my own original research (in the sense of unpublished experimental data, unreferenced statistics, and the like) here with the intention of using it in Wiktionary entries. Whether I am correct in my hypothesis as to why this circumfix (en- -en and its variant, em- -en) exists does not change the fact that a circumfix is what it is. In logic, there is a distinction between “analytic” and “synthetic” truth; the COED [11th Ed.] defines the former adjective as “true by virtue of the meaning of the words or concepts used to express it, so that its denial would be a self-contradiction” and the latter adjective as “having truth or falsity determinable by recourse to experience”. For synthetic truth, I accept that it is necessary to reference authorities such as dictionaries, style guides, peer-reviewed journals, and the like, for verifiability’s sake. The same does not apply for analytic truth. The words embiggen, embolden, embrighten, encolden, engolden, engreaten, and enliven were all formed by having the enclosed word simultaneously affixed with a prefix (en- / em-) and a suffix (-en) — this synthetic truth is known partly by reference to the Oxford English Dictionary (a formidable argumentum ad verecundiam), and partly due to the fact that for some, no word exists which is just prefixed or just suffixed (even if you reject this latter element of my reasoning, there still exist four circumfixed words according to the OED (that is, a sufficient number to meet WT:CFI), namely embolden, embrighten, engreaten, and enliven — and these are only the ones which were definitely formed with a circumfix — there are ten more words listed here whose origins are uncertain and which might or might not have been formed with a circumfix). If this synthetic truth (that at least seven words in English were formed by the simultaneous affixing of the prefix e(m/n)- and the suffix -en in one fell morphological swoop) is accepted, then it can only be concluded that the circumfix e(m/n)- -en exists in English; this analytic truth is known because: a circumfix is “an affix containing both a prefixing and a suffixing element existing as a single morphological unit” ← the e(m/n)- and the -en have, in the formation of some words, acted as a single morphological unit, and not as a separate prefix and separate suffix ← the OED gives us such etymological information for some words e(m/n)- -en, and for some words there is no alternative explanation (synthetically-known premise). Call a spade a spade. Quod erat demonstrandum. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 18:39, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I have closed the above as a "no consensus", because it does not seem to me that the core issues here have been addressed. For my part, on review and reconsideration it seems pretty clear that this is an interfix rather than an infix, and should be relabeled as such. -- Visviva 16:39, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


Per my closer's note just above, I've boldly gone forth and changed the header here from "infix" to "interfix". In researching this I found this definition in Trask's Dictionary of Phonetics and Phonology particularly compelling. Anyway, feel free to argue, revert, storm out of the room, whatever. I do not plan to become heavily involved here. -- Visviva 16:48, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

RFD (2nd nomination)Edit

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Incorrectly closed as "no consensus." No references ever were provided for the original research that new parts of speech are now magically recognized as legitimate within the English language. New heading, indeed, is worse. Issue that the only things pointing to this entry are part of same scheme/original research pushing, also not yet addressed. Those entries should point to o, if anything. --Connel MacKenzie 16:50, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Note: "No consensus" does not mean that the proponent of that OR still doesn't understand. As that was the main supporter or keeping the entry, those comments should, if anything, be disregarded. The lack of sources to back up the fanciful claims about the English language suddenly changing is of concern. --Connel MacKenzie 16:53, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Oh of all the ridiculous second-guessing crap. You can't tell me you see any consensus in that tangential, tendentious mess, that non-dialogical trainwreck masquerading as a discussion.
  • Moving on then... Call it an affix, call it whatever, it has been pointed out that this is listed in numerous dictionaries. It is, therefore, not an invention. Nor -- since you mention this -- is it a previously-unknown property of the letter o. It was not pointed out at the time that it is not, even by the description given, an infix. (I'm not sure why this wasn't noticed, but I surmise everyone was too busy carping to consider the issue at hand). As I mentioned on the talk page, I found this concise definition of "interfix", which appears in a sober reference work written by a respected authority, particularly compelling. I have no interest in being involved in this further, but I will note that it seems trivially obvious that the entry should be kept, regardless of the POS header. -- Visviva 17:35, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
It isn't "second guessing crap." It is original research, to assert that "Infix" or "Interfix" are recognized parts of speech in the English language. --Connel MacKenzie 18:27, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
It's an obviously necessary entry. "Numeral", "symbol", "letter", "abbreviation", and "suffix" are considered parts of speech here, so we're obviously not constrained to traditionally recognized "part of speech" headings. What heading would you prefer, Connel? Rod (A. Smith) 19:03, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
It is a property of o that the single letter is sometimes used to fuse compound words. The reasonable notation, is to identify the separate compounds (with and without o) if they have different meanings. A separate definition line identifying this role at o probably is not warranted, but the notion of having an entry at -o- itself is ridiculous. --Connel MacKenzie 22:41, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
That wouldn't seem to fit under "Noun," "Interjection," or "Abbreviation", which are the three POS headers currently in place at o#English. Visviva 06:45, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, my annoyance and need to vent was directed specifically at the claim that the discussion was closed incorrectly, when the lack of consensus or resolution was so painfully apparent. I don't really object to a relist, if it can result in more constructive discussion this time around.
In terms of original research, I did cite a specific source for labeling it an "interfix", i.e. Trask, and there are many other scholarly works using similar terminology. This discussion of whether other word-parts function as interfixes (comparing them to in passing to the accepted interfix -o-) was particularly interesting. That said, and although I'm pretty sure the term was used in some of my intro readings for my master's (which was the last time I actually studied this stuff), I can't argue that this term has seen much uptake outside the rather insular world of English morphology. This makes it less than optimal for our purposes.
I would be happy to use ===Affix=== as the POS header, although I'm pretty sure someone will go into conniptions over that too. In any case, it would certainly be best to have the entry link to an appendix -- Appendix:English word formation or whatever -- in which English affixation rules can be discussed in well-referenced detail. -- Visviva 05:01, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Keep in some form or other, per Visviva, other editors, and common sense. —RuakhTALK 05:27, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the research, Visviva. I concede that both -i- and -o- are interfixes, rather than infixes. (With -fucking- and -bloody- being actual infixes, right?) Though I’d prefer an ===Interfix=== POS header, I’d also be fine with ===Affix===, if that were also applied to prefix, suffix, et cetera. Doing so would have the benefit (for Connel) of reducing the number of POS headers we use (as a ===Prefix===, ===Suffix===, ===Circumfix===, ===Confix===, ===Infix===, and ===Interfix=== are all ===Affixes===). BTW, as it seemed that this discussion would have the same effect on -i-, I moved its RfD section from hereinbefore to a subsection hereof. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 07:46, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. I'd be O.K. with labeling this as "Affix", but prefixes and suffixes should be labeled as "Prefix" and "Suffix". The benefit of "Affix" over "Interfix" is that it's more widely understood; but "Prefix" and "Suffix" are definitely more widely understood than "Affix". —RuakhTALK 16:23, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Keep. All good English dictionaries have it. I would be happy with either infix or affix, but I think interfix is too rare. —Stephen 10:05, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
On second thought, after looking at the entry again, I would be happy with any of the three, infix, affix, or interfix. The interfix that is there now looks perfectly reasonable to me. —Stephen 10:21, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
We could just link the ===Interfix=== header to the entry for interfix, like we do for obscure languages.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr 13:32, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

kept, heading linked. Conrad.Irwin 22:40, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Return to "-o-" page.