Privative vocabulary in Ruthish

A One Big Happy from last month, in which Ruthie explores hitherto-unrecognized privative vocabulary in English:

Ruthie sees not– as a privative prefix in English, appearing in the cheese name mozzarella (which she hears as not-zarella; who know exactly what zarella means, but then lots of words have mysterious parts in them, so why not this one?). Once Ruthie’s dad sees through the misunderstanding, he goes on to mischievously offer another privative-not– word: not-zoball, which others think of as matzo ball (try not to worry about the alternative English spellings matzo, matzoh, matza, matzah). An appropriate remark for the season, since we’re now in the middle of Passover, the time of (among other things) unleavened bread, in the form of matsos and matso meal.


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