The suffix -hood, was Re: Dictionaries of agglutinating languages
|From:||Amanda Babcock <langs@...>|
|Date:||Friday, October 6, 2000, 14:39|
On Tue, 3 Oct 2000, dirk elzinga wrote:
> But not always accurate. A favorite example I give to my students when
> the subject of derivation comes up is the suffix -hood in English. It
> attaches to nouns to create abstract nouns meaning something like 'the
> property of being an X'. Thus, father -> fatherhood; knight ->
> knighthood, etc. However, it won't work with all nouns: candle ->
> *candlehood (although one could imagine what that might mean).
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that -hood only works on words
which satisfy the criterion "something which a person or people can be".
I got a quick and dirty list of -hood words by grepping /usr/dict/words,
and here they are:
All but two are built on a noun which describes a kind of person. Of the
remaining two, falsehood and nationhood, falsehood is built on an
adjective which can apply to a person (although I admit I'm not sure that
is the sense of 'false' which is being used here), and nationhood is built
on a noun which describes a group of people.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list. Can anybody come up with more
counterexamples beyond "falsehood"?
> And there are nouns which don't conform to the "regular" pattern:
> neighbor -> neighborhood (does *not* mean 'property of being a
This is true. However, many of these -hood words have secondary meanings
parallel to neighborhood, if you interpret neighborhood as "a collection
of neighbors". Womanhood and knighthood can mean "womankind" and "knights
as a class or body", respectively. Brotherhood and priesthood can mean a
particular collection of brothers or priests. Maybe neighborhood had a
secondary meaning such as the these, which then became its primary
Ecstatic that the t-shirt is back! Although I really liked "your language