Talk:em- -en

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RfD discussion — kept[edit]

From Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/Archives/2007/06#em- -en:

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Even though I believe that both en- -en and em- -en should stay, I RFD-tagged this entry for the sake of fairness, as en- -en is already tagged therewith (also, it would be absurd to keep em- -en if en- -en gets deleted). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 11:08, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Delete. I don't think of these as circumflexes but as separate prefixes and suffixes, and I don't think I'm alone.. the word circumflex is just not used in English grammar to my knowledge. Widsith 13:02, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Please see hereinbefore for my arguments in favour of keeping this and en- -en. Even if they are kept, I think that it would be a good idea to mention in a usage note that whilst some (like me) recognise these as circumfixes, others (like you) see them as separate (if complementary) prefixes and suffixes. English definitely has at least two circumfixes — y- -t (as in yclept) and a- -ing (as in a-going), but these two are both archaïc (although the latter can be found rarely in the verbal phrases of a few dialects). By the way, I think you mean circumfix, not circumflex — a circumflex is this diacritic: «^». † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:34, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Oops. Is circumfix even a word, or have you just invented it? Widsith 13:47, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
First of all, "circumfix" is certainly a word, and is certainly used in this way. The debate is whether particular circumfixes are linguistic entities in their own right rather than the sum of a prefix and a suffix.
dictionary.com's entries for "circumfix" give examples in the form "a- ... -ing" and "a- and -ing". Note the absence of a standardised form. They do not give "a- -ing", which means that "en- en" and "em- -en" should probably not be given in that form. That's beside the point of whether they should be kept at all, of course. Note also that the fact that "y- -t" and "a- -ing" are archaic is not, in itself, a bar to including them.
I'm coming down in favour of keeping these, although the format might need to be rethought, and we might need redirects/cross-references from the other possible forms (using ellipsis, etc). — Paul G 13:53, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
I’ve created twelve redirects (three each) for a- -ing, en- -en, em- -en, and y- -t along the lines of: a--ing, a-...-ing, and a- ... -ing — are there any others that you think are necessary? And what ideas about formatting changes do you have? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:51, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Dear † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr, it is specious, at best, for you to be creating spurious entries derived or related to the term nominated for deletion based on less than enthusiatic comments of support least of all, when only from one single individual. So far, it looks like there is not yet sufficient support for deletion, but I expect that may change, particularly when you use antagonistic tactics such as this to "support" your newly invented part-of-speech. Creating copious amounts of dubious entries just means that there is more for sysops to clean up, after you. --Connel MacKenzie 21:56, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
I, rightly or wrongly, interpreted Paul G’s comment (“we might need redirects/cross-references from the other possible forms (using ellipsis, etc)”) as an implied request that someone go create those said redirects (as it’s not the most interesting of tasks). It was not intended to “support” my case with these circumfixes — if it had been, it would have been a rather foolish error of judgement, as such “antagonistic tactics” would be likely to make those who oppose their retention hostile and make those who are lukewarmly in favour think again. Therefore, I assure that that was not my reason for creating the redirects, and that I am acting in good faith (why else would I myself nominate em- -en for deletion, thus facilitating their removal?) — as a gesture of good will, I shall blank the twelve redirect entries or tag them with {{delete}}, if you want me to. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 11:09, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Please do not blank any entries. Tagging these with {{delete}} can wait until these others are resolved. It should be plain that my complaint is that you took direct action, while the applicability of that action was being tentatively explored. The fact that the Appendix: solution exists, has existed and is generally a better approach, has now been obscured and undermined by the dozen extra cleanup items. --Connel MacKenzie 18:03, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
I’m sorry, my actions were intended to assist. There’s nothing more that I can say. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Whatever we decide about en- -en, y- -t is definitely not a circumfix. It is just inherited from Old English ge- and -ed. Perhaps you could argue that OE used ge- -ed as a circumfix, but modern English does not. Widsith 15:31, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
The prefix y- has no other function in Modern English except forming past participles in conjunction with -t, therefore, y- -t is an English circumfix. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 16:25, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Good point, Raifʻhār Doremítzwr. Whereas en- may be found before words that do not have the -en suffix, I cannot think of any word which prefixes a morphological y- without the -t suffix. Perhaps we ought to delete em- -en and en- -en, but keep y- -t? — Beobach972 17:06, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
No, that is wrong. y- does not ‘form’ past participles, with or without -t. To call it a circumfix is to imply that yclept was formed by adding y- -t to clepe. But this is incorrect. The word as a whole was inherited from Old English geclypod. This is also true of every participle which uses y- -t. That is why I say that although you could make a case for the circumfix existing in OE, it does not in modern English. Not only is it not productive now, it never has been in modern English. Widsith 08:48, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I see. So it isn't a circumfix, either. — Beobach972 00:23, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that is true of yclept. However Edmund Spencer et alii did use the y- -t to affect a faux archaïque style. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 11:09, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Can you give some examples? Widsith 13:10, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
These are all the words that appear to use a y- -[past element suffix] construction from Book I of Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene; I don’t know which of these are Old English words and which are his neologisms: ycladd, ydrad, yclad, yrockt, yblent, ymounted, yborne, yplast, ypainted, yrent, yfed, ycled, ybrought, ywrought, ywounded, ybred, ycarv’d, yledd, ypight, ylinked, and ywrit. Wikisource has a fair few other transcriptions of his works, so if none of the above are neologisms, I can investigate further if needed. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:58, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually, this list convinces me beyond any doubt that y- -t is not a circumfix. What is does show is that y- is being used archaically to form past participles, but we already have an entry which describes that phenomenon. Consider. Of your 21 examples, only 8 even use the element y- -t. You have tried to explain that by describing it as y- -past element suffix. But what exactly is the "past element suffix" in yfed or yborne? There is no suffix. The clear conclusion is that the formation is y- + past form = archaic past participle. From that we conclude (and it would be difficult to argue otherwise) that such forms as ybrought are not y- + brough +-t, but simply y- + brought. You are just getting confused because t was more common as a past ending than now, when ed has largely taken its place. Widsith 09:22, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I’m with you in most respects here. In truth, I think you’re being too generous — even without reference to yfed and yborne, ybrought et alibi are clearly not examples of the use of y- -t (for the archaïc past participle of bring is not ybringt) — hence my “describing it as y- -past element suffix”. Indeed, it appears that y- -ed is more common than y- -t is. Nonetheless, y- is not functioning as an independent prefix, as (if you were to consult y- -t’s etymology) it is a perfective prefix, only occurring in conjunction with a past participle conjugation — a morphological phenomenon which, by virtue of the definitions of the words involved, can but be described as a circumfix (unless, that is, there is some yet-more-obscure word for a morphological unit which is a prefix + non-suffix inflexion; and in any case, how would we list such an entry?). Therefore, we still need y- -t, but we also need y- -ed and y- too — the former two for linking thereto from the etymology sections of the words wherein they feature, and the latter for words wherein the y- occurs in conjunction with an irregular “strong declension” past participle conjugation (the y- entry would have to be very explicit about the fact that it is not an independent prefix). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 11:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
You are the morphological phenomenon here. Blimey. Yes, we all agree that y- is perfective and gets appended to a past form. That, as you say, is a morphological phenomenon. What it's not is a circumfix. If it were, there would only be one. As it is, you are now having to propose y- -t, y- ed, y- -en just to cover all eventualities. Surely it's clear that this isn't three circumfixes, it's just evidence of the fact that that there are several ways to form a past tense and y- can be stuck on any one of them. I'd also draw your attention to the fact that in practice this means that pseudo-archaic writers just use y- + preterite. On the few occasions where they don't (e.g. yborn not *ybore) this is because the word was not formed in English but inherited from Old English (geboren in this case). I know you have your heart set on this but please....rethink. Widsith 13:19, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
OK; yrethought. How, then, do we express in the y- entry that it cannot occur alone, but rather only in conjunction with verb forms conjugated for the past participle tense? That aside, would it not still be a good idea to have entries for y- -t, y- -ed, and, as you add, y- -(e)n — being that they’re the most common and regular-ish occurrences of the y- -[preterite] circumfix (or whatever it ought most appropriately to be called)? By the way, I fail to see why, in having a variable ending, that makes y- -[preterite] not a circumfix — en- -en becomes em- -en when the word it encloses begins with ‘b’, but that fact is hardly a strong basis for denying its circumfixational status — it’s just one circumfix with a variant form (in the same way that sub- is just one prefix, despite its having several variant forms depending upon the word which it prefixes). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:32, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I've y-added a Usage note to y-, have a look. Hopefully it makes the point that, when y-adopted by later writers, it was simply ystuck on the front of existing past participle forms. Widsith 18:49, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Seems adequate. I’ve changed the definition a little to express that it cannot occur independently. Now, how do we deal with its common incarnations as y- -t, y- -ed, and y- -en? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:39, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I thought we already had. All such forms can be analysed as either y- + past participle, or as reflexes of OE forms. Widsith 14:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but the y- perfective prefix only ever coöccurs with past partiple (suffixational) elements as a de facto circumfix. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:46, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
No it doesn't! As we've just seen, it occurs with a past participle, not a suffix! Some past participles are themselves formed using suffixes, to be sure, but many are not. This phenomenon is not a circumfix. Otherwise you would not be able to interpret such words as yborn, yfed etc. Widsith 07:31, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, that was ambiguously written. The prefective prefix y- only ever coöccurs with past participle inflexions — in the cases where it coöccurs with past partiple suffixational inflexions, they function as a de facto circumfix; in the cases where it coöccurs with past participle “strong declension” inflexions, I’m lost for words as to what to call it — is it a “prefix + infix” perhaps? –Except the strong declension inflexions aren’t really infixes… So what do we call them? (Fortunately, as we can’t really have an entry for it, we don’t need to find / invent a suitable POS header title.) They’re technically not circumfixes, although that is the type of morpheme they resemble most… † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 12:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
They're technically not circumfixes, although that is the type of morpheme they resemble most. The word you're looking for is prefix. The mysterious ‘second element’ is most usefully and accurately described as a word. Not a ‘past inflexional element’, not a ‘past participle suffix’, but a whole word: a past participle to be precise. I can't even tell if you're joking now. Trying to analyse these forms as involving a circumfix is unnecessary and unhelpful and doomed to fail. Now please God can we knock this discussion on the head. Widsith 16:30, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I’m not trying to be obtuse; I’ll try to explain my reasoning again… The y- “prefix” is just one part of a morphological unit which forms past participles. That morphological unit is “y- + -t / -ed / -(e)n / [strong declension inflexion]” — namely, a circumfix, as it is a combination of a prefix and a suffix (except for, as I have already mentioned, the cases of “y- + [strong declension inflexion]”, which technically (that is, by virtue of the definitions of the words used) aren’t circumfixes because their second elements are not suffixes). The issue, however, is confused by the fact that, without any exception of which I’m aware, past participles in Modern English have dropped the perfective y- element (there may, theoretically, be a verb whose only correct past participle form is the circumfixed form — such a verb would have to have become obsolete very early on, before “y-dropping” became commonplace). However, the fact that the past participle suffixes (the -t / -ed / -(e)n / [strong declension inflexion] elements) can and do function independently does not imply that the past participle perfective element (the y- “prefix”) can or does function independently. The y- element carries no meaning and never occurs other than in past participles in conjunction with the suffixing element. Y- doesn’t prefix to a past participle, it circumfixes to an uninflected verb along with a suffixing element — the y- element is part of the morpheme that expresses the past participiality of the verb. Is my reasoning a little clearer now? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:37, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Not true. The y- element carries no meaning on its own, but it does not gain its meaning through being combined with a ‘suffixing element’ but through being combined with a past participle. Whether the past participle involved uses a suffix or not is neither here nor there - some do, some don't. Widsith 14:08, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Y- is the element which “perfects” the participial morpheme — it’s (an obsolete) part of the affix that’s added to verbs to make them past participles, not a(n obsolete) part of the past participle itself. By the way, the issue that “y- + [strong declension inflexion]” cannot technically be called a circumfix seems like it could be resolved by calling it, instead, a “confix” (for, whereas a circumfix is a combination of a prefix and a suffix, a confix is simply a combination of more than one affix of any type). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:50, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
  • While we have "combination" entries for multi-word terms, they are not "words" and by and large, deviate slightly from what other dictionaries do. But we do identify them by recognizable parts of speech. While I can understand the desire to have the "combination entry" for en...en as a curious combination of a prefix and a suffix, I cannot accept the ORIGINAL RESEARCH aspects of asserting that the whole of the English language now widely accepts a brand new, previously unheard-of "part of speech" called a circumfix. (NB: try running that past a standard spell-checker! Many other regular dictionaries don't recognize that as a word, at all. So much for "established linguistics terminology" for foreign languages, eh?) Since nothing is being offered as a reasonable substitute heading, this should be DELETED from the main name-space, and listed in the Appendix as a curious combination of prefixes and suffixes. The likelihood of someone looking up en-, -en to learn what it means is absurd; a reasonable person would look for an appendix on suffixes or prefixes (or both.) --Connel MacKenzie 21:35, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
I imagine that, like most of our affix entries, en- -en et alibi will be looked up due to being linked to from etymology sections (as in embiggen) — this is especially true if our affix entries contain comprehensive lists of words in which those affixes feature — in that case it is perfectly believable that a Wiktionary user would look up en- -en to learn precisely what it means and what words feature it. This is only OR to the extent that I am applying my analytical mind to the phenomena of word formation — if that is OR, then so is recognising the difference between grammatical and ungrammatical constructions or deciding that a word spelt in a certain way is a typo or a scanno and not an intentional variant spelling. Furthermore, please note that this can’t be OR as a number of internet sites already discuss circumfixes and claim that they exist in English. E.g.: [1], [2]. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 11:09, 7 June 2007 (UTC) ··· I’ve recently added circumfix to Wiktionary. Yes, this word is rare — that is because circumfixation is a rare morphological phenomenon. Nonetheless, it is the only reasonable name for a POS header there is — what else could we possibly call a- -ing, em- -en, en- -en, and y- -t? Look at the word’s etymology — “circum-, around + -fix, morpheme” (see the entry for -fix for an elaborated definition thereof) — it does exactly what it says on the tin, that is, it’s an affix that attaches around a word (rather than to its beginning or end or within it). Besides, even if Wiktionary rejects the notion that English has any circumfixes whatsoever, we will still need a “Circumfix” POS header for languages that undeniably do have them (German, Dutch, and numerous others), which means that the argument for rejecting a- -ing, em- -en, en- -en, and y- -t because it would require using another, unique POS header is invalid. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 17:15, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
First of all, embiggen was never cleaned up, as the expectation that such nonsense would simply be deleted, means that people spend their time cleaning up real entries. Of course it should not link incorrectly to non-existant entries. Of course it should link to em- and -en separately.
Now, proponents of "circumfix" have stated before that the term is used in foreign language study. I find that harder and harder to believe, given that most dictionaries don't carry the term at all. I find it even harder to believe, given that most spell-check features identify it as a misspelling. But even assuming that it is valid grammar terminology, it does not apply to English.
Your suggestion that a heading used for a foreign language, might therefore be valid in English is completely false. Why do we have pages like WT:AC or WT:AJ? No, you cannot use the heading "circumfix" to describe English terms. That would take a couple things: first gaining support here on WT:BP (which you currently do not have) and then a successful one month (or two month) vote on WT:VOTE. Using foreign language headings in English entries has in the past made it harder for my software to detect the errors...but remains incorrect, whether detected in a timely manner or not.
--Connel MacKenzie 18:03, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Embiggen is now listed on WT:RFV, but I think that it will survive that process (it already has two of the three necessary citations). What it links to should depend upon its actual etymology, which is, unfortunately, ambiguous — it could have been created by the redundant affixation of both the prefix em- and the suffix -en (as you suggest) or it could have been created by the circumfixation of em- -en (as I suggest) — my view is that as big became embiggen in just one step (and not via “big → embig → embiggen” or “big → biggen → embiggen”), then it strongly implies that em- & -en are functioning as one circumfixing morphological unit (em- -en).
By the way, I wasn’t arguing that because the circumfix header exists for other languages, it should therefore exist for English, I was arguing that as it already exists for other languages, opposing its use in English on the grounds that it would be a new POS header is invalid. I ask again, what else can we call a- -ing, em- -en, en- -en, and y- -t, other than circumfixes? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:39, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
My suggestion for what we should call them, remains the word "deleted." --Connel MacKenzie 05:30, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but a serious suggestion — for the name of a POS header. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 12:47, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Deletion, indeed, is the only serious possibility. --Connel MacKenzie 23:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Then I expect we’ll be browsing through Category:English deletions or Category:English deleteds to look for such entries then? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:16, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
If circumfixes exist in other languages, then the POS header should, indeed, exist for those languages. However, it is my understanding that the specific English-language 'circumfixes' listed are nonsense, and should be deleted. — Beobach972 00:23, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
The issue is not about any language other than English; the idiotic suggestion all along has been that such a thing exists in English. --Connel MacKenzie 23:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Certain authorities disagree; certain evidence contradicts. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 11:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Then why is it so impossible for you to furnish even one? (Let alone, sufficient sources to convince anyone that the phenomenon is recognized in English.) --Connel MacKenzie 23:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Dictionary.com Unabridged [v 1.1] (2006) gives the English circumfix a- -ing as the example in its entry for circumfix, whilst The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language [4th Ed.] (2006) gives the two English circumfixes a- -ing and y- -t as the examples in its entry for circumfix. Wikipedia and other sources (references given elsewhere herein) have specified en- -en / em- -en as English circumfixes. Recognised or not, my logical proof here shows that, in analytic terms (that is, by virtue of the definitions of the words used), em- -en / en- -en is/are (an) English circumfix(es). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:16, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Alright, the debate here seems to actually be two debates:
  1. Whether to have a 'Circumfix' header, or not, for other languages.
  2. Whether to have a 'Circumfix' header for English :
    1. Does the phenomenon exist in English?
    2. Are any of the examples provided so far valid?
— Beobach972 16:15, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
So, I ask : does anybody object to allowing a Circumfix header (for languages such as, eg, Japanese and Guaraní which unequivocally use circumfixes)? Whether this POS should be allowed for English is an issue that should be resolved separately. — Beobach972 16:15, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
That is blatantly false. Conflating "other languages" with English is unacceptable for this discussion. --Connel MacKenzie 23:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
What are you on about? Beobach is purposefully trying to distinguish the issues here and to treat them separately — consider “does anybody object to allowing a Circumfix header for languages … which unequivocally use circumfixes? Whether this POS should be allowed for English is an issue that should be resolved separately”. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:16, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
  1. I don’t think that there’s any maintained opposition to using the Circumfix header for languages which have long been recognised to make use of circumfixes (to your Japanese and Guaraní I would add German and Dutch).
  2. If the morphological unit is more or less proven to exist, I believe that “Circumfix” would be the only appropriate header wherewith to describe the few that there are in English.
    1. I believe so — sources of varying authority here and there point to a- -ing, y- -t, em- -en, and en- -en as English circumfixes. (There are three as far as I can tell — em- -en is just a prebilabial variant of en- -en, and there seem to be variant forms of y- -t as well; e.g.: y- -ed and y- -(e)n.)
    2. The most convincing example of the use of the en- -en circumfix is probably engolden. Widsith and I (see hereinbefore) are presently in disagreement as to the existence of the y- -t circumfix. However, noöne has yet seen fit to challenge the assertion that a- -ing is an English circumfix. The many alleged examples of this phenomenon that I have given thus far have certainly not all been explained away.
† Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:37, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Using the correct notation of prefix + form + suffix is exactly how they should be represented in etymologies. Inventing a new POS for English is original research. --Connel MacKenzie 23:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
See my logical proof linked thereto hereinbefore. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:16, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Closer's note: No consensus or compelling argument to keep or delete is evident above. Please feel free to re-list, but try to keep the discussion on topic this time. Regards, -- Visviva 15:39, 5 October 2007 (UTC)


RFD 2013[edit]

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en- -en

em- -en

These are just a combination of a prefix and a suffix. As far as affixes go, these are SOP. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:16, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

These look similar to -ality and -manship. What's the policy regarding these "compound affixes" (to adopt that term from -ality)? It looks like these circumfixes have been discussed here before (see Talk:en- -en and Talk:em- -en). I'm so meta even this acronym (talk) 23:26, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Come to think of it, these circumfixes are on all fours with most English prefixes, which are really a base prefix + one of the interfixes (-i- or -o-). If those various compound affixes and prefix–interfix combinations are kept, then so should these circumfixes. I'm so meta even this acronym (talk) 17:12, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Mine's a keep vote, in case that isn't clear from the above. I'm so meta even this acronym (talk) 09:55, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
When the word is not enlive or liven, it's enliven, formed by adding both en- and -en. Keep, seems like an RFV issue except that's pointless because it's definitely attested. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:23, 4 September 2013 (UTC) — IFYPFY. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 19:03, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Compare the recently resolved RFV for the English compound suffix -cratic: Both en- -en and em- -en pass bd2412's test "to determine the productivity of a[n a]ffix [by] find[ing] uses of that [a]ffix for which related [a]ffix variations are absent"; in the case of these circumfixes, they are shown to be attested by the existence of encolden, ensmallen, etc. and the non-existence of *colden, *encold, *smallen, *ensmall, etc. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 19:03, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Kept. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 17:04, 11 January 2014 (UTC)