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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Modern Descendants of Latin            401
which is not gaining much ground The same is less true of verb-noun
couplets represented by the French compounds porte-monnaie (purse),
gagne-pam (livelihood) or the Spanish mondadientes (toothpick) and
rascactelos (sky-scraper) Where Anglo-American puts two words
together without any intervening link, Romance languages generally
require a preposition. To indicate the purpose for which something is
meant French uses the particle a, Spanish para,, and Italian da. Thus a
tea-cup is une tasse a the in French, hair-oil is aceite para el pelo in
Spanish, and a typewriter is una macchna da scnvere in Italian The
insertion of prepositions which we can omit (e g trade cycle = cycle
of trade) makes headlines bulge Thus the French for workers* fashion
plates is planches degravures de modes pour ouvneres Like noun coupling
prefixation is not fashionable Frenchmen or Spaniards do not lightly
make up adjectives like pre-digested. Thus the vocabulary of French is
highly conservative The same is true of Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian
if we use Anglo-American as a yardstick, but French is far less flexible
than its sister languages, because it has no machinery for deriving
words of a class relatively common in the latter
Many languages have special suffixes to indicate dimensions of,
disapproval of, or esteem for the thing or person of the word to which
they stick Almost any German noun which stands for a thing or
animal becomes diminutive (and hence endearing or contemptuous)
by addition of~chen, or less commonly -few, e g Haus-Hauschen, Mann-
Mannchen The prevalence of this trick explains why diminutives are
not listed in German dictionaries In English such couplets as duck-
duckling^ goose-gosling, or river-rivulet, book-booklet, are rare, as are
French ones, e g maison-maisonette, jardm-jardinet; and we have to
learn them individually More like German than English or French,
Spanish and Italian abound with words of which the suffixes signify
size, appreciation, tenderness, contempt, according to context; and we are
free to make up new ones
Masculine forms of some Spanish diminutive terminals are -1*0, -ico,
-itico, -cito, -illo We recognize the feminine equivalent of the last one
in guemlla from guerra (war) Italian diminutive suffixes are the -mo of
bambino, the -etto of libretto, also -ello, -cello, and ~cmo Thus we get
floncita (little flower) from the Spanish flor, a&dfioretto (cf floief) from
the Italian fiore From the Spanish names Carlos and Juan we get
Carlitos, Juamto (Charlie and Johnnie) Such terminals can attach
themselves to adjectives or adverbs Hence the Spanish couplets ahora-
ahonta (now—right now), adios-adwsito (good-bye—bye-bye), or Italian