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Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

Is this a suffix or a combining form. If it is not a suffix what PoS should it have or should it be merged with [[dimensional]]? See Wiktionary:Requests for deletion#n-dimensional. DCDuring TALK 23:42, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Semantically, "three-dimensional" = "{three dimensions}-al", not "three-{dimensional}", right? If I'm not mistaken, this is what linguists call a "bracketing paradox": in form, the -al has lower attachment than the three-, since it's actually incorporated into dimension to form the derived adjective dimensional, but in meaning, it has higher attachment, since the three modifies (determines?) the implicit dimensions, and -al serves to adjective-ize the whole thing. That makes it interesting, and I'm guessing it's what motivated the entry's creation; but if I've got this right, bracketing paradoxes are incredibly common (I believe "{blue-eye}d", "{transformational grammar}ian", "{North America}n", etc. are all examples), and I don't think the solution is to treat the together-in-form part of them as an affix or combining form. I don't know what to suggest instead, though. (I think this is related to the issue of non-predicating adjectives — "medical student" doesn't mean "student who is medical" — but I might just be confusing two separate issues.) —RuakhTALK 16:46, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I think I see your point. I didn't know what the name of the phenomenon was, but I had noticed it in etymologies. When (and in what order) a stem acquires one or more suffix (Greek; classical, late, vulgar, medieval, new Latin; old, middle, or Norman French; old, middle, or modern English) is often very meaningful, but elementary purely "morphological" etymologies just jump to classical stem plus affixes. I really don't buy inviolable "deep grammar" transformational rules, because folks like Pinker and Searle don't. Just as evolution does not treat DNA is inviolable, so do "rules" of transformation often get violated when rules conflict with other rules or with larger phenomena.
In this case, notwithstanding your arguments, "-dimensional" seems a meaningful lexicographic unit. But, strictly speaking, "dimensional" seems like a combining form, not a suffix. I cannot get over the disappearance of the "s" in the purported transformation of "two-dimensions" to "two-dimensional" (and in all multi-dimensional compounds). That the solid spelling (multidimensional might be an exception) is much less common (~1:10), is also suggestive that this is not "really" a suffix. Too, Quinlon, at Affixes: the Building Blocks of English], does not treat "-dimensional" as an affix. OTOH, little harm (except fewer helpful hyphens) comes from treating it as one, and some users may be helped. If we had some good treatments of combining forms and if ordinary users grasped the distinctions, this might be easier. I have no neat solution and doubt that there is one. DCDuring TALK 18:34, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Deletion debate[edit]

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The following information passed a request for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, though feel free to discuss its conclusions.

This is not a suffix; it is/should be covered at dimensional. DCDuring TALK 15:49, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

More examples in an ongoing discussion at WT:TR#-footed. Equinox 16:12, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
No, it's a combining form. — Paul G 15:44, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

If we delete such things, they should redirect imo.—msh210 17:16, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't think so. There are just too many, and if you search for "-blah" you will find "blah" in the suggested results below anyway. Equinox 23:20, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
The redirect doesn't bother me, but it's not a suffix, so delete. Mglovesfun 23:36, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Keep It is not a suffix, but it is a combining form. It allows the formation of terms such as three-dimensional and n-dimensional. —This comment was unsigned.
Should we have all attestable combining forms, eg year- in "year-old", -year in "five-year plan", and -year- in "one-year-old child? Because hyphens are often recommended to clarify the interpretation of compounds in attributive use, almost all nouns, most adjectives, and many adverbs would probably have attestable use for combining forms. This could be the opportunity we've been waiting for: hundreds of thousands of potential entries. DCDuring TALK 16:09, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Keep -dimensional. Should also have -year-old, but not year-, -year-, or -year. —Stephen 18:34, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Kept as no consensus. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:29, 30 September 2009 (UTC)