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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.
 

RonBee

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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.

:)
 

Tdol

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

Casiopea

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Casiopea said:
Nilesh said:
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
 

Tdol

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

Casiopea

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tdol said:
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
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Note to myself: buy a new dictionary.
 

RonBee

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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:
 

Red5

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Casiopea

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Cas:
dead languages, like Greek.

RonBee:
Greek is a dead language? What language do the Greeks speak?


cheese grin :D
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Tdol

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Casiopea said:
tdol said:
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
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Note to myself: buy a new dictionary.

It's probably not that out of date. ;-)
 
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