more on -er (UNCLASSIFIED)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Dec 3 15:25:15 UTC 2009

On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM, victor steinbok wrote:
> I believe, it would be inappropriate to delve further into theoretical
> musings on global warming (or lack thereof) on this list. [snip]

To bring things back on-topic, I see that AGW deniers have taken to
calling their opponents "global warmists" or simply "warmists." There
are plenty of blog posts about how "Climategate" has exposed the
"warmist conspiracy." There are far fewer complaints about the "warmer
conspiracy," so presumably the ambiguous reading of "warmer" blocks
the conspiratorial "-er" ending in this case -- it attaches more
readily to nouns ("truth", "birth", "death", "flat earth") than to
adjectives that can take comparative inflection.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list