The un-verb makes the Times

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 22 02:13:45 UTC 2009

At 5:59 PM -0400 9/21/09, Mark Mandel wrote:
>What, no mention of Orwell?
> -- search for "negative".
>m a m

Well, there are space limitations in Ben's mini-essays.  I've
discussed the Orwell connection in this connection, and also e. e.
cummings's notable contributions to this realm.   Cummings promotes
un-verbs like unteach and ungrow that undo what is not normally seen
as undoable, along with statives like unbe, unexist, and unsit and
relatively novel un-adjectives as well--unalive, unbig, unslender.
His unworld is inhabited by unthings, a domain of unmen going through
the motions, not quite living but unexisting in an unlife filled with
unlove ("unlove's the heavenless hell and homeless home/of
knowledgeable shadows").


>On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 12:22 AM, Benjamin Zimmer <
>bgzimmer at> wrote:
>>  On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 9:38 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>
>>  wrote:
>>  >
>>  >
>>  And here's my followup on Word Routes, which owes a similar debt to
>>  the work of the illustrious Laurence Lord Horn:
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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