1. Sanjuricus
    Offline

    Sanjuricus Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    1

    How far can a word be stretched?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Sanjuricus, Feb 27, 2013.

    Almost a word game here but I do have a serious question. Allow me to explain...

    Take the word Establish - To make firm or stable (amongst many other meanings)
    Append it with -ment to make Establishment - A settled arrangement (such as a government)
    Append it with -arian to make Establishmentarian - Someone in favour of a particular establishment.
    Pre-fix it with Dis- to make Disestablishmentarian - Someone in favour of the removal of an establishment

    Can you see where I'm going with this?

    Pre-fix this with Anti- and you have Antidisestablishmentarian - Someone opposed to the removal of an establishment.
    Append with a good old -ism and you have what is often erroneously taught as the longest word in the english language (yeah I know!!)

    My question is, just how much further could this go?
    Antidisestablishmentarianismisationalistically?
    Is that feasible as a word? I take it to mean "With regards to the process of the growth of antidisestablishmentarianism" but may well have my suffixes muddled!
    Is there a limit?
    Can any of you think of longer concatenations? Perhaps to words like Sesquipedalian or Paraskevidekatriaphobia or floccinaucinihilipilification?
     
  2. Zypher
    Offline

    Zypher Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    That one place
    Well, I am not exactly intelligent when it comes to spelling and grammar and basically any english word rules, however if that word does work then it is certainly a mouthful! 8[]
     
  3. paper55
    Offline

    paper55 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Antidisestablishmentarian. You've got a double negative "anti-dis-".
    Wouldnt pro-establishmentarian mean the same? As for the -arian on the end, its probably unnecessary in most sentences. ie John is pro-establishment VS John is a pro-establishmentarian.

    As to "a limit"? I'd say its probably about 2 or 3 before it becomes too unwieldy to understand. Once you have to stop and mentally work through the word, its probably too much (in context with the intended audience). At that point, simply spelling it out in plain English would be better. ie Antidisestablishmentarianismisationalistically = not a feasible word. You might as well just say "With regards to the process of the growth of the pro-establishment crowd" (or whatever it means).

    But as a word game, it works :D
     
  4. Sanjuricus
    Offline

    Sanjuricus Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    1
    I take your point Mr 55 but antidisestablishmentarianism is an actual word despite the inclusion of what appears to be a double negative. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antidisestablishmentarianism)
     
  5. Andrae Smith
    Offline

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Location:
    Wandering
    I would say it stops there because from that point, most new suffixes would replace the one that is there. Additionally, they would have to give the word some sort of meaning.
    ex1.
    Antidisestablishmentarianism (n.)-->Antidisestablishmentarianistic(adj.-being of the characteristics of and antidisestablishmentarian)-->Antidisestablishmentarianistically (adv. done in the style of an...)

    ex2.
    Antidisestablishmentarianismisational has no meaning...
    Antidisestablishmentarianisational also has no meaning... 'isation' is a suffix that applies to verbs that typically end in '-ize' (The suffixes after that merely change the form to adj. or adv.)...
    Antidisestablishmentarianisation has meaning (v. the act of becoming an Antidisestablishmentarian.)
     
  6. lauramaidah
    Offline

    lauramaidah Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    reddit.com
    Words can stretch until they mean something else entirely. Take: "Roflcopter". That's stretching my imagination. Above post is legendary.


    meta-
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Just don't stretch them to the breaking point.
     
  8. lauramaidah
    Offline

    lauramaidah Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    reddit.com
    Words can't break. That's why it's so beautiful to talk. uh, you-you know wh-what I mean?
     
  9. paper55
    Offline

    paper55 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting wiki article, I didn't know any of that.

    I think it highlights that context/intended audience is important.

    In this case, the "disestablishment" was not a general word but had a very specific meaning of the separation of church and state (specifically in this context it is the political movement of the 1860s in Britain).

    So I can see how its not really a double negative. The simpler pro-establishment loses the intended meaning.
    anti-disestablishment really means "opposed to the separation of church and state".

    I can hazard a guess that readers back in 1860 could understand the variants on the disestablishment word fairly easily (and were probably more patient as well).
    It's still hovering around the 2 to 3 limit, ie: anti-disestablishment-arian-ism

    I don't mind the odd bit of etymology, so thankyou good sir!
     
  10. Sanjuricus
    Offline

    Sanjuricus Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    1
    /doff hat
    A pleasure. :)
     

Share This Page