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Author Topic: Getting the hang of English back formations  (Read 4974 times)
Sphinx
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« on: November 10, 2011, 12:22:16 PM »

How many other English words have been shortened like “invitation” to “invite” (both alternatively used as a noun)? Or like “consultation” to “consult”?  And lately, Latoya Jackson (after her brother Michael’s doctor, Dr. Murray, was convicted) was heard saying: It’s time to “go after his ‘conspires’”?  BTW, “abbreviated” is a funny (oxymoronic?) word for “short.”
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 12:25:28 PM by Sphinx » Logged
Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 12:55:29 PM »

I can only think of the back formations “enthuse” from “enthusiasm” and “sleaze” from “sleazy.”

There must be at least several dozens of back formations in the English lexicon. Forum members and guests who know of other such words are welcome to post them here. Keep them coming!
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DavidHughes
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 06:27:52 PM »

There are several words in English which has such meanings. Like, confirmation to confirm also information to inform.
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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 09:18:28 PM »

David, I don’t think “confirm” is a back formation of “confirmation” and neither is “inform” a back-formation of “information.” By definition, a back-formation is a word formed by subtraction of a real or supposed affix from an already existing longer word, as “burgle” from “burglar” (Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary). In the case of both “confirmation” and “information,” however, they are nouns that were formed from the already existing verbs “confirm” and “inform,” respectively—meaning that they were formed by adding rather than subtracting an affix.

You may want to check out the Wikipedia list of back-formations to get to know authentic back-formations in the English language.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 11:59:07 PM by Joe Carillo » Logged

Marie Lu
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 07:23:35 PM »

Wow, this link to Wikipedia is very helpful. I did not know that are so many  shortened words in English. Thank you Joe!
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wangajennya
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 10:00:23 AM »

I learn a lot from your discuss. Thank you.
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