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    Ever Student's Avatar
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    Question Accidental Gaps?

    As you know some new words called accidental gaps come into language and obey the phonological rules of the language- they include native phonemes in a permitted order- but have no meaning like BIK or unsad. Some of them currently used as a meaningful word like "argumentation". I looked up such a word in old dictionaries and haven't come across it yet.
    Could be "argumentation" term considered as an accidental gap at that time?

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    Re: Accidental Gaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by taghavi View Post
    As you know some new words called accidental gaps come into language and obey the phonological rules of the language- they include native phonemes in a permitted order- but have no meaning like BIK or unsad. Some of them currently used as a meaningful word like "argumentation". I looked up such a word in old dictionaries and haven't come across it yet.
    Could be "argumentation" term considered as an accidental gap at that time?
    "An accidental gap is a non-existing word which is expected to exist given the hypothesized morphological rules of a particular language."
    Accidental gap - Glottopedia

    There's no accidental gap for 'BIK'. One could say that 'unsad' is one of these words, since 'unhappy' exists. But 'sad' is the marked antonym, so it would be less likely to have a modifier like 'un'.

    Yes, I think 'argumentation' might have been one - but I haven't done the research on the history of the word.
    The following words do exist: documentation, commentation, so prima facie, 'argumentation' was possible, and a gap.

    If it is, then the following are also accidental gaps: *agreementation, *developmentation ...

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Accidental Gaps?

    How about 'misunderestimate'?

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    Re: Accidental Gaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    How about 'misunderestimate'?
    I think that's a case of accidentally falling into a gap that doesn't exist!

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    Re: Accidental Gaps?

    And also is expected to exist given the phonological rules. As I read before it was focused on "phonological rules". For example, BIK was a brand name before and called now an accidental gap. And it is pronounced as "beak" in English.

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    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Accidental Gaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by taghavi View Post
    And also is expected to exist given the phonological rules. As I read before it was focused on "phonological rules". For example, BIK was a brand name before and called now an accidental gap. And it is pronounced as "beak" in English.
    Bic is the name, as in the ballpoint pens. Also, I pronounce it to rhyme with 'sick'. It is common for brand names to become the name of the object. Examples include:

    'hoover' - vacuum cleaner in American English
    'tippex' - the correct name is 'correction fluid'. The white liquid used to correct ink. Commonly called 'white-out' in the US, I think?
    'tannoy' - 'PR' is the correct word, I think.

    I have never heard of 'accidental gap', so I can't say whether these are accidental gaps or whether it's just popularity.

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