Nigerian English; -ate back-formed verbs

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Mar 4 18:46:20 UTC 2008

On Mar 4, 2008, at 7:08 AM, Amy West wrote:

> Thanks much for the link: at Woo State most of our foreign students
> are from Africa, and I had a student last semester whose writing had
> some of these dialect markers.
> The mention of "felicitate" and "jubilate" remind me of a recent
> conversation with some community college colleagues, one in early
> education, who noted that her students were using the verbs
> "imaginate" and "observate". Logically back-formed from "imagination"
> and "observation", but nonetheless surprising that they didn't
> connect the verbs "imagine" and "observe" with those nouns. I
> personally liked "imaginate" because it could be a blend of "imagine"
> and "create".

some google webhits:

I love musicals but not so much as films and then I am allergic to
Johnny Depp and if I imaginate that he sings, I go mad !

I am sure there is a way to save videos from YouTube to your HDD, or
did I imaginate that?

[hard to search for, because of the trade name Imaginate.  a number of
the hits look like they have interference from spanish.]

for "observate", there's even an OED entry (draft rev. March 2004):
'To observe; spec. to detect by scientific observation', with cites
from 1978 through 1998 (plus an 1877 cite from the speech of a
malapropisticcharacter in a novel.

respectable number of google webhits -- including cites from bilingual
dictionaries that give translations of "observate" in other languages
(Gm. "beobachten", for instance)!


> ---Amy West
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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