Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Mar 9 20:33:54 UTC 2008

At 4:18 PM -0400 3/9/08, Mark Mandel wrote:
>Yes, I had reanalyzed it on the model of "khanate" and "episcopate".
>So... are there any other loan words that have undergone such, as it were,
>vacuous reanalysis (as in "vacuous rule application" in generative grammar,
>i.e., the rule applies but does not change the form)?
>m a m

One I've always liked, although it involves venturing outside
English, is the Swahili word for 'book', _kitabu_, a borrowing from
Arabic, although I suppose the final vowel is epenthetic.  Anyway, if
you ignore that, it's a good candidate for the category because the
ki- has been clearly reanalyzed as the singular form of the ki-/vi-
noun class (typically inhabited by inanimate objects of precisely the
kind exemplified by books), with -tabu understood as the stem.  How
can we tell there's been a reanalysis?  The plural form is _vitabu_
'books', which is definitely not Arabic.


>On Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 11:15 PM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com> wrote:
>>  Ben,
>>  I have no doubt that you are right that the term is native Arabic, not a
>>  loanword.  However, the OED at least leaves open the possibility that the
>>  English word "emirate" would have been reanalyzed by English speakers on
>>  the
>>  analogy of "professorate" and "episcopate."  It is this, I think that led
>>  both Mark and me to see "Emirati" as an odd form, he initially as a typo
>>  for
>>  "emeriti" and I as an English derived noun with an Arabic suffix turning
>>  up
>>  as the name citizens of an Arabic-speaking nation call themselves.   We
>>  were
>>  both on the wrong track, but I'm still inclined to think it's been
>>  reanalyzed in English.
>>  Herb
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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