chapter  11
11 Pages

Reanalysis

In previous chapters, examples of reanalysis of various kinds have been noted in passing, and many more could have been mentioned. Some suffixes, like -dom, -hood and -less, were once also words, cf. Old English on d1),htlicestum dome 'in most noble state', papan had 'papal dignity', firena leas 'free from crimes'. The prefixation of suffixed verbs like decolonize can suggest, in cases like demagnetize, in which the base can easily be seen as nominal, a 'partnership' of prefix and suffix involved in noun-to-verb transposition (1.2.2, 3.2). The -ery of pottery (4.4) might be seen as two suffixes, the -er of potter and -y as in photography, but -ery can only be one suffix in piggery. Allocable, containing the stem of allocate, conforms to a pattern established by loan words like imitable, many of which also have corresponding verbs in -ate. The pairing of adjectives or nouns in -ate and nouns in -acy in e.g. adequate and adequacy, advocate and advocacy, pirate and piracy is behind such occasional formations as complicacy or invertebracy. A fairly recent series of adjective-based nominalizations relating to 'communication' includes articulacy, computeracy, corresponding to computerate 'computer-literate' (OED: 1981), literacy and numeracy. Oracy 'ability in the oral skills' (OED: 1965) has as yet no corresponding adjective.