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Getting the wrong suffix

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Getting the wrong suffix

Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:44 pm

Today, while talking to my brother, I hesitated awhile at the word for uncertainty. The word that came to mind first was Spanish incertidumbre (sometimes this happens to me) and I had to translate it into Portuguese, which I did using incertidão, which he definitely understood. After I had hung up, I wondered if that was a real word or if I had made it up and I checked my dictionary. No hint at incertidão, just incerteza, which is a very common word but alas didn't come to me. I looked further to see if that word had a variant incertidão, and to my embarrassment :oops: , no! it didn't. My brother, if he paid attention at all to it (and I doubt it, because he's not a freak like us), may have taken my word for it, since he knows I'm into words and stuff (it's up to you to imagine what this all-encompassing term covers :wink: ). My question to you is: has this ever happened to you, mixing up suffixes? Shame on me!

Brazilian dude

P.S. I'll google it, maybe somebody used it before me.
Languages rule!
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:14 pm

Web Resultados 1 - 10 de aproximadamente 61 páginas em português sobre incertidão

Well, I guess my dictionary is outdated and I'm relieved I didn't make a mistake.

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Postby Apoclima » Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:59 pm

Sure, that happens all the time. Sometimes they catch on and become words.

Apo
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Postby Flaminius » Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:24 pm

Like the famous unalienable, which became accepted when some calligrapher misspelt inalienable rights in the final version of US constitution and the dignitaries from the 13 states signed the document.
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:44 am

Flaminius wrote:Like the famous unalienable, which became accepted when some calligrapher misspelt inalienable rights in the final version of US constitution and the dignitaries from the 13 states signed the document.


Actually, that word is from the Declaration of Independence, which predates the Constitution by a number of years.

Also, I'm not so sure it's a misspelling. Searching the various dictionaries at AlphaDictionary shows it means "inalienable," although I haven't found a history of the word as yet. I can't seem to find my monstrous dictionary at the moment so I can't find an etymology, even at Etymology Online. However, using the tools The Good Doctor and his staff have made available here at AlphaDictionary, I find that both in- and un- are prefixes meaning not, but in the case of un-:
(adv.) An inseparable prefix, or particle, signifying not; in-; non-. In- is prefixed mostly to words of Latin origin, or else to words formed by Latin suffixes; un- is of much wider application, and is attached at will to almost any adjective, or participle used adjectively, or adverb, from which it may be desired to form a corresponding negative adjective or adverb, and is also, but less freely, prefixed to nouns. Un- sometimes has merely an intensive force; as in unmerciless, unremorseless. (emphasis added)


While the above quote is identified as being " . . . from 1913 Webster's Dictionary and may be outdated," the following one is from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary:

un-1

prefix 1 (added to adjectives, participles, and their derivatives) denoting the absence of a quality or state; not: unacademic. 2 the reverse of: unselfish. 3 (added to nouns) a lack of: untruth.

— USAGE The prefixes un- and non- both mean ‘not’, but are used with a difference of emphasis, un- being stronger and less neutral than non-. Compare, for example, unacademic and non-academic in his language was refreshingly unacademic and a non-academic life suits him.

— ORIGIN Old English.


Since the origin of un- is Old English, which predates the 18th Century by a fair-to-middlin' time period, I'd say it was not a misspelling. But that's just my opinion. :)

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has an interesting link:

"The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence" by Stephen Lucas. By closely examining its language, this perceptive article sheds light on the Declaration as a work of literature and of persuasion. From Prologue, Spring 1990.


You will need a better-than-average but not quite arcane vocabulary, or at least access to a good dictionary, for some of the words in the article, but in general it is not difficult to follow, and gives an insight into late 18th Century rhetoric and logic.
Regards//Larry

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Postby Flaminius » Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:25 am

Ya. "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary. . . " It's a bit pitty that nobody can write like that any more.
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