MORE on commentariat

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun May 23 22:11:59 UTC 1999

>What about commissariat?  {pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU,Net}
>I immediately thought of prole-tariat.
>There's also secretariat                      {prez234 at JUNO.COM,Net}
>My point was founded on the general acceptance of the above terms being
>loans from French.  Also these terms can be identified as having -iat as a
>suffix.  In the case of mullahtariat the the second element is -tariat.
>In commentariat I wonder if the form is from commentar(y) + -iat, in which
>case I cannot think of a parallel of English origin, or from commen(t) +
>-tariat, as in mullahtariat.
I think the point with 'commentariat' is precisely that it's both:
commentary + -tariat, with the overlap [tAri] reinforcing the clip-blend.
Just as simple blends ("motel" being the classic example) are most
successful when they include this sort of overlap, so too with clip-blends.
There are, for instance, the -oholic series, where I've always thought the
best ones (chocoholic, workaholic) can be analyzed with a shared syllable
because of the stem final -[k], while the more forced ones (sexaholic,
movie(a)holic, cheeseaholic, whatever) can't be.


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