Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Does anybody besides me remember Lexical Morphology?  I guess I'm thinking about it because I just finished teaching intro to morphology.  Just heard this on the radio yesterday:  "... a very high uninsurance rate" - !!!  Classic bracketing paradox:  -ance has to be level 1 (luxury ~ luxuriance; predominate ~ predominance); un- is level 2.  But once -ance attaches, you have a noun, and besides Un-Cola and a few other advertising terms, un- doesn't attach to nouns.

Slight digression:  which un- is this?!?  It doesn't seem like the un- that attaches to verbs because it doesn't mean reversal of action.  So it has to be the one that attaches to adjectives.  But of course insurance isn't an adjective either.  Some weird back-formation from uninsured?

Yikes.  Morphology.

PS Google search for uninsurance:  91,600 results.  The world has gone mad - mad, I tell you!

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