More libfix inventory

Over on Language Log, Mark Liberman takes up (in “Whatpocalypse now?”) the libfix -pocalypse (in sportspocalypse, in particular), adding to the items in my recent inventory of postings, which I was pretty sure was incomplete (it’s not easy to assemble these lists, since many relevant postings don’t use the term libfix). The items that I missed concern libfixes that originated in portmanteaus and have the playful, ostentatious, or creative tone of what Geoff Pullum and I called expressive morphology (link in my previous posting).

Mark’s additions to the inventory:

BZ, 2/6/09: Shamockery and shank-a-potamus (link): on POST –apotamus

AZ, 12/11/09: Liciousness (link): on POST –licious

ML, 3/1/10: The half-life of the hashtag (link): on POST –mageddon, -pocalypse

ML: 7/20/10: Andrewlanche (link): on POST –lanche

None of these elements are on Quinion’s affixes list.

Then there are postings on snowmanteaus (-manteau is not in Quinion), some of which have final elements that seem to have been liberated:

AZBlog, 12/22/08: Portmansnow words (link): portmanteaus snowtastrophe [-tastrophe not in Quinion], snowpocalypse, snowmageddon

BZ Word Routes, 2/11/10: SnOMG! It’s Snowmageddon 2010 (link): snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, and more

AZBlog, 2/12/10: Portmansnow round 2 (link): on snowmanteaus in general

The most significant omission (that I’ve found so far) is

GP, 2/8/10: Isms, gasms, etc. (link)

In that posting, Geoff makes a distinction between suffixes, compound elements, and combining forms:

Of [the elements on a list], I think I’d say (it is a theoretical judgment) that only -like, -esque, -ward, and -ism should be called suffixes.

I think words ending in -proof, -master, and -kabob are best treated as compounds (formed of two roots, like treehouse, where tree isn’t a prefix and house isn’t a suffix). The element spelled -phile or -ophile is a Greek-derived combining form (neither a suffix nor a word, but a separate word-formation element nonetheless).

Geoff goes on to identify some expressive combining forms on the list:

POST –(a)thon [in Quinion]; -riffic, -go-round,  -(i)licious, and –gasm [none in Quinion]


2 Responses to “More libfix inventory”

  1. MCB Says:

    From Russian, POST -nik:

    beatnik, nogoodnik, peacenik, {jazz,folk}nik

    Also POST -chik (from apparatchik) but I can only think of boychik & girlchik which are prestty much just diminutives.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      A reminder: these postings weren’t inventorying libfixes, but postings about libfixes. As it happens, I have posted about -nik (here).

      But it’s not a libfix — rather, a derivational suffix borrowed from Yiddish and Russian (the role of sputnik was to make the suffix evident to a wider audience than it had before the launching of the satellite). Same with -chik, I think, though it hasn’t gotten enough use to make it into Quinion’s affix list.

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