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Thread: -ic vs. -ical

  1. #11
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Botanic vs botanical?

  2. #12
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    Botanic vs botanical?
    What's the difference? I know botanical garden.

  3. #13
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    I believe there’s no difference.
    One more pair for you: ironic; ironical.

  4. #14
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    I believe there’s no difference.
    One more pair for you: ironic; ironical.
    Thanks Buddhaheart very kind of you. If there is any difference in meaning or usage please let us know. I personally believe and according to the principle of economy in language such words must have some sort of difference or at least there used to be a difference.
    Best
    Jamshid

  5. #15
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Ok, how about adjectives that have the same meaning like geographic VS geographical (electric shock vs electrical shock)? is the difference about WHERE in the sentence the word is used? or does it have to do with the phrases they appear in?

  6. #16
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_linguista View Post
    Ok, how about adjectives that have the same meaning like geographic VS geographical (electric shock vs electrical shock)? is the difference about WHERE in the sentence the word is used? or does it have to do with the phrases they appear in?
    That's the question. Where does the difference come from? The idea that the phrases they appear in might influence their meaning and usage is certainly interesting but needs explanation.

  7. #17
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    I'm convinced the the diachronic track should be followed : function changes (adverbs--> adj) entailing meaning changes . I'm afraid the synchronic analysis might be limited to the building of a mere corpus of pairs and respective places in the sentences.However, I guess the relevant idea of the place in the sentence might be clue .. functions and places are closely related

  8. #18
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Quote Originally Posted by CHOMAT View Post
    I'm convinced the the diachronic track should be followed : function changes (adverbs--> adj) entailing meaning changes . I'm afraid the synchronic analysis might be limited to the building of a mere corpus of pairs and respective places in the sentences.However, I guess the relevant idea of the place in the sentence might be clue .. functions and places are closely related
    I do agree Alain:
    1. Diachronic track is the right one
    2. The place of a word in a sentence

    We only need to find out.

  9. #19
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    I do agree Alain:
    1. Diachronic track is the right one
    2. The place of a word in a sentence

    We only need to find out.
    I'm afraid the diachronic track, as often, is the key but is a very complex key (so complex that it makes the key impractical to use). Some of the pairs have no distinguishable difference, as is the case with geographic / geographical. But some of the pairs are distinct: a historical record (one of the many records that have to do with history) isn't the same as a historic record such as the Magna Carta - a record that has particular significance in the context of history (or even the sort of historic record achieved by Sergei Bubka - although as he is now retired maybe it could be called 'historical'!). Still other 'pairs' have one half missing - someone has already mentioned public (which causes problems when people use the adverb:

    The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993.

    publicly, publically (advs.)


    Publicly is the usual spelling; publically does occur, but rarely in Edited English.
    Google, for all its limitations, confirms this:
    Results 1 - 10 of about 2,550,000 for publically. (0.31 seconds)


    Did you mean: publicly
    ...
    Results 1 - 10 of about 81,700,000 for publicly
    In another thread someone - it may have been Bianca ? - quoted David Crystal about final Es. It seems to me quite possible that typesetters had a similarly cavalier attitude to -ic/-ical - they just stuck in an extra syllable if they wanted to pad out a line of type. And this applied not only to -ic/ical; physic (an archaic word referring to various aspects of medicine, which unlike 'public' has only the -ical form in current English) was sometimes spelt with -ic, sometimes -ick, and sometimes -icke.

    (I didn't join this thread earlier, since the issue has been discussed before and I didn't feel I had much to add. For the language learner, the situation is unavoidably unclear: there are four possibilities - a pair with the same meaning, a pair with distinct meanings, a 'pair' with only an -ic form, and a 'pair' with only an -ical form. There is no way of predicting which ones were 'chosen' by usage. And sometimes, even when there is a distinction, a quotation uses the 'wrong' form - simply because at the time of the quotation there was no such distinction.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 19-Jun-2007 at 18:00.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: -ic vs. -ical

    I was responding to a post in another Forum just the other day using "electric" and "electrical" as an example:

    An electric car (Not *electrical car)
    Electrical engineering (Not *electric engineering)
    An electric current (Not *electrical current)
    An electric shock (Not *electrical shock)
    Electrical equipment (Not *electric equipment)
    Electrical components (Not *electric components)

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