findability--a real word?!

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Wed Aug 25 18:32:45 UTC 2010

My impression is that non-Latinate roots suffixed with -able are iffy, admitted only because of their utility, but taking the derivation further with -ability increases mental barriers to acceptance. Not permanently, of course (learnability, e.g.), but enough to prompt the "is that a word?" response. That's my reaction to findability, readability, and (from a recently revived beer commercial campaign from the 1980s) drinkability.


On Aug 25, 2010, at 1:56 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: findability--a real word
> i thought the generalization was with an adjective in -able you got the derived abstract noun in -abil-ity for free.  innovate _discussable_ and you get _discussability_.  surely only a small number of -abil-ity nouns merit tracking and citations in the OED.
> arnold
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