Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Sat Feb 4 23:01:57 UTC 2006

In our family this is absolutely everyday for affectionate "scratching" of a
person or animal. We use "scratch [a person or animal]" only for more
forceful scratching, to relieve an itch (one's own or another's) or with the
effect of causing harm or pain.

The substitution of a high vowel for a low one is completely in line with
historical and universal patterns of ideophonic diminutive formation.

--m a m

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

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