The far reaches of analogy

Today’s Bizarro:

Turnabout — rather grisly in this case — is fair play, with huming created on analogy with snowing, using the pairing of human with snowman. (For me, that would give huing rather than huming; but Piraro seems to have treated human as if it were hume-man.)

But human and snowman aren’t really parallel, historically, morphologically, or prosodically, though some people have come to treat the second syllable of human as if it were the noun man — giving rise to a jocular or hyper-serious counterpart huwoman, and a “gender-neutral” substitute huperson.

[Historically, human is based on Latin homo ‘person, human being’, as in Homo sapiens; the m belongs to the stem, not to a formative man. The word has an unaccented final syllable — compare pagan and veteran — while compounds with second element man (like snowman) generally have this element bearing an accent, though a weaker accent than the first element. The accentual facts are, however, complex, because some compounds in -man have lost the accent on the second element — seaman and chairman, for example — and others have variable accent on the second element

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