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Re: Sidestepping Spelling Reform - Monosyllabic Characters

From:Steve Cooney <stevencooney@...>
Date:Thursday, February 5, 2004, 1:35
--- jcowan@REUTERSHEALTH.COM wrote:
> Steve Cooney scripsit: > > Not weird at all: Ici(Icy="of ice")-cle (Barnacle, > Monacle) > > ROTFLMAO! > > This is a brilliant illustration of exactly the same > kind of thinking > that Mark is parodying in his biscuit/circuit > example. There is no > connection, zilch, none, between these three words. > > "Icicle", as I said, redundantly adds "ice" to the > Old English word > "gicel" (pron. [jIkEl]), already meaning "icicle". > "Barnacle" is from the > Mediaeval Latin word "bernaca", of unknown origin, > meaning a species of > goose (usually called the barnacle goose nowadays), > plus the diminutive > ending "-ula". "Monocle", as it is correctly > spelled, is from Greek > "mono", one, plus Latin "oculus", eye.
I understand your point. My point is that its wrong. I'm saying that this suffix "-cle" has a meaning, perhaps something like an attachment - as a barnacle is attached to a whale, an icicle is attached to something else, a monocle (thanks, spelling) is attached to an eye... Though etymologically, people tend to be thinking only in terms of rather linear (localized, ethnocentric) relationships between words, I think that its rather silly to assume that changes occur only one way-from one word to another and never in reverse. In fact, its more likely quite different, that changes in only a few generations will go back and forth -and perhaps even East-West language/symbolic exchanges deeper than 'taikun' and 'dimsum.' Consider also the impact of written language to slow word interchange. So while 'gicel' may *seem* like the origin of 'icicle' - it is only partly true, rather that the "original term" -- 'gicle' was influenced by both ice, and the perhaps new '-cle' suffix. Now you might say, these two things are completely unrelated, and far, far apart - What does ice have to do with geese after all? They are not far apart at all - in the mind of anyone with a knowledge of these two words, they are as far or as close together as one can like to think of them. Thinking of word origins in the same way as we think of genetic inheritace, is actually rather silly. For people to mingle their genes in the way words mingle with each other as concepts, human lives would be nothing more than jumping from one jello-filled bathtub to the next ajacent one, with nobody stopping so much as to ROFL, let alone ("let alone" =idiom?) ROTFLMAO. Ill work on the biscuit/circuit connection later. ;) -SC (now with extra MSG)
> Abstracting a common suffix "-cle" from these is as > absurd as abstracting > "-cuit" from "biscuit" and "circuit". > > > Yes. They are local (colloquial) idioms, > > Hudie, boli (glass), and meigui (rose) certainly > aren't. > > -- > You let them out again, Old Man Willow! > John Cowan > What you be a-thinking of? You should not be > waking! > Eat earth! Dig deep! Drink water! Go to sleep! > > Bombadil is talking. >
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