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Re: "Preservative" assimilation?

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Monday, May 19, 2008, 20:01
Eric Christopherson wrote:
> First off, please excuse the long post. > > On May 15, 2008, at 2:31 AM, R A Brown wrote: > >> Eric Christopherson wrote: >>> Is there such a thing as "preservative assimilation"? I noticed today >>> that a lot of articles on Wikipedia claim so, but IIRC the term is >>> "perseverative". I don't know for sure, though, so I'm not fixing it >>> yet.
> > What you're missing (I think) is my original thesis - that the word > "preservative" is either a) a typo or b) a word which someone selected, > when they really *meant* another, similar word. (What would you call > that, anyway? It's kind of like the eggcorn phenomenon, but not quite.)
Sorry - you're right. I must read more carefully :=( I think 'malapropism' is what you're thinking of. but it could be a type. I noticed that in the snipped bit I also made a type: I wrote 'perservative assimilation' when I meant 'perseverative assimilation'. I would guess that something similar happened when 'preservative assimilation' entered the literature. It is surely far more likely that 'perseverative assimilation' got mis-written or mis-remembered as 'preservative assimilation' since 'preservative' is not an uncommon word in normal parlance, but 'perseverative' is. Indeed, my spell checker didn't know the latter adjective - I had to 'teach' it!
> I believe the semantics of the term are that features of the first > (leftmost) sound *persevere*;
Yep - that fits.
> the idea of *preservation* doesn't seem > that relevant to me, although I suppose you could make a case that lag > assimilation "preserves" features of the first sound, whereas in the > more common (AFAIK) regressive assimilation, the first sound loses some > of its features. But I think that's a bit of a stretch.
I agree entirely. While the notion of the perseveration of some feature(s) of the first sound is not unreasonable, the preservation idea is a bit of a stretch. This again is IMO another indication that the original term was 'perseverative' or 'perseveratory'.
> I was hoping someone would check some linguistics literature for me, so > I could make sure. I did check Google Books, and only found three hits > for the phrase "preservative assimilation".
> By contrast, "perseverative assimilation" gets 60 hits, so I think that > is likely the correct term.
I think so. Yes, all the indications are surely that "perseverative assimilation" (or "perseveratory assimilation") was the original form. -- Ray ================================== ================================== Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora. [William of Ockham]