Tuesday, February 23, 2010

(on)-ics for language names: More Edenics

As the house historical linguist on Team Verb, I should probably say something about the whole Edenics thing.

One thing that strikes me is the name, since I don't think (n)-ics was used for language names before Ebonics, which was consciously created as a blend of Ebony and Phonics, according to the usual story (including the version in the Oxford English Dictionary Online.)

Since then, the second element, typically expanded from the original blend to -onics but sometimes just -ics, has been used widely in humorous contexts, like Hickonics, for example, or Wisconics. (How these relate to Ebonics socially and politically is a topic for another time.) But I don't recall offhand cases where it's been extended to this kind of situation, i.e. a proposal for a proto-language. -ic is very common (Altaic, Uralic, Tungusic, Germanic, etc.), but That's a different creature.

Our readers will surely correct me if I'm wrong.

A big h.t. to M.O.

PS, just so I'm on the record: Edenics is seriously flawed as an effort to understand the history of human language.


Anonymous said...

Evidence that this really IS a joke?

Harry Campbell said...

And for some reason in the case of jocular or satirical names for "languages" it's usually "-ese" (journalese, officalese, Americanese, Whitehallese etc). Or "-speak", perhaps after Orwell's Newspeak.

Mr. Verb said...

What would we call this if we wanted it to sound like a dead serious proposal? Edenese IS awkward, for the reason you note. Edenian? Just Edenic? Heck, most of these are probably out there already.


Harry Campbell said...

Got to be Edenic I reckon. It already exists as an adjective, relating to Eden. Apparently Edenian is a geological term ("a stage of the Ordovician in the Lower Cincinnatian Series of N. America").

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, you can't really use Proto-Eden, because it WAS Eden. Maybe you'd just call it Bad Science and be done with it?