Printable Version
Pronunciation: -rê-go-jee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: The addition of a sound to the end of a word, as children do when they pronounce dog "doggy".

Notes: Paragoge is a member of a series of common word changes, including its antonym, apocope. Apocope is the chopping off the final sound of a word, as French does whenever coup "blow, overthrow of a government" is pronounced coo. The adjective for paragoge is paragogic and the adverb, paragogically.

In Play: Paragoge is characteristic of many languages. In Finnish, a paragogic [i] is added to many borrowed words, e.g. bench became penkki and imp became imppi. All Japanese syllables must end on a vowel or [n] so, when borrowing words from languages that allow syllables to end on consonants, Japanese adds a paragogic vowel, so that hotel become hoteru while baseball becomes besuboru, with two paragogic [u]s.

Word History: Paragoge comes to us via Latin from Greek paragoge "leading by, adding to the end", based on para "by, beside" + agein "to lead". Agein is a cognate of Latin agere "to make, do" from which we derive the English word for a doer, agent, as well as actor, acorn, and acre. The same root, PIE ag- "to drive, draw, move", may be found in Sanskrit ajati "drive" and ajirah "active, moving", and Greek axios "worthy", which underlies the English borrowing axiom. (Let us add a final note of gratitude to Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, a long-standing editor of the Good Words, for suggesting today's unusual Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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