Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: English

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default English

    The other day, someone claimed, quite confidentally, that the 'o' in "Philosophy" is an infix, as welll as the 'a' in "dialogue". I remain unconvinced, and the grammar books I have consulted have not been any help.
    I am hoping someone can help me out with this one. The heading "ask a teacher" is quite promising.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,570
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    There are languages that use infixes. English is not one of them. In any case, the o in philosophy is not an infix, and neither is the a in dialogue. In both cases, the syllable in question is part of the prefix.

    :)

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,297
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Infixes are used in some slang expressions:
    fan-bloody-tastic, but this is a rare example.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: English

    Made a mistake.

    Please see my post below.

    Cas :D

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: English

    [quote="Casiopea"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Nilesh
    The other day, someone claimed, quite confidentally, that the 'o' in "Philosophy" is an infix, as welll as the 'a' in "dialogue". I remain unconvinced, and the grammar books I have consulted have not been any help.
    I am hoping someone can help me out with this one. The heading "ask a teacher" is quite promising.
    Well, in Greek, the language from which they derived their original form, philo- and dia- were prefixes, not infixes:

    Philosophy: From Greek philo- , sophia (wisdom)

    Dialogue: From Greek dia- through, legos speak

    But, and here's something worth noting to your colleague, the Greek vowels represented by the symbols 'o' and 'a' were inserted, fixed in place (not infixed, which expresses a kind of affix), a looooong time ago, for ease of articulation. They're called epenthetic vowels. For example:

    dia- before words starting with a consonant (e.g. dia-meter), and di- before words starting with a vowel (e.g. di-atom). We use this ancient rule today, albeit rarely, in coining new (scientific) words.

    If that was the case with 'philosophy' and 'dialogue', which it may have been, but hard to tell given that there were many similar prefixes of 'phil-' and 'di-' in Greek, you should know that those vowels are frozen in place now, and no longer function as epenthetic vowels.

    In short, they are not infixes. They are fixed in place (frozen in time), remnants of an Ease of Speech Process called Epenthesis: insert a vowel between two consonants, which is an active process today in all languages of the World-with the exception of dead languages, like Greek.

    Cas :D

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,297
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I someone who speaks no Latin and less Greek, I'm very grateful for that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I someone who speaks no Latin and less Greek, I'm very grateful for that.
    Oh, I don't speak either of the two myself. Took a bit in uni, though. The bit above, I looked it up in the "Dictionary of Current English (1998)", which come to think of it, isn't all that current now, is it?

    Cas :D
    _____________________________________
    Note to myself: buy a new dictionary.

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,570
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: English

    They are fixed in place (frozen in time), remnants of an Ease of Speech Process called Epenthesis: insert a vowel between two consonants, which is an active process today in all languages of the World-with the exception of dead languages, like Greek.
    Greek is a dead language? What language do the Greeks speak?

    :wink:

  9. #9
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    3,392
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    LOL!
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  10. #10
    jwschang Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Red5
    LOL!
    Without insulting any Greeks, I guess the language of the d....

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Help
    By zhangjin in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 29-Mar-2008, 19:47
  2. improving the use of english as a foreign language
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 15-Sep-2007, 09:08
  3. any advice on how to improve my english which is in trouble!
    By lucyarliwu in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 28-Nov-2006, 05:58
  4. [feeling] Annoying English?!
    By Wai_Wai in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 13-Nov-2006, 08:59

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •