proclitics

On Facebook, Karen Chung has passed along this Xmas posting of 2013 (19 December) from the estimable Arika Okrent in The Week:

‘Tis and 10 other fun proclitic words

English likes to stick contractions on the end of words. “They have” becomes “they’ve,” “I will” becomes “I’ll,” and “do not” becomes “don’t.” The shortened parts of these words are called enclitics — they are a bit more independent than suffixes, but like suffixes, they attach to the ends of words. English also used to have a number of proclitics — shortened words that attach to the beginning of other words. Most proclitic words are now archaic or obsolete, but every December the neglected proclitics get their revenge, as a holiday avalanche of “’tis” rolls through town.

(Yes, ’tis shifts to it’s eventually.)

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