Friday, September 18, 2015

Two, Two, Two Posts In One, or One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others Department / There's Something About Adjectives

A. Ovine - like a sheep
B. Bovine - like a cow
C. Equine - like a horse
D. Porcine - like a pig
E. Lupine - like a wolf
F. Vulpine - like a fox
G. Canine - like a dog
H. Feline - like a cat
I. Ursine - like a bear
J. Serpentine - like a snake
K. Asinine - like a donkey
L. Feminine - like a female
M. Masculine - like a male
N. Divine - like a god, like God
O. Pristine - like a virgin (Madonna Louise Ciccone, take note.)
P. Tatooine - Luke Skywalker’s home planet

My answer is Tatooine because it is a noun and all the rest are adjectives. Perhaps you have another answer for another reason. I’d like to hear it.

Even more words end in -ine -- elephantine, byzantine, morphine, nicotine -- but not all of them are adjectives.

Funny things, adjectives. They have different endings. Let me count the ways (my apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning):

1. -ine: (see list above)
2. -ic: (gigantic, rustic, pedantic, pediatric, geometric, alphabetic, moronic, idiotic, tectonic, bubonic, Teutonic, demonic, fantastic)
3. -ous: (bulbous, monstrous, miraculous, marvelous, multitudinous, disastrous, mountainous, bodacious, wondrous)
4. -al: (vernal, maternal, paternal, fraternal, arboreal, dual, verbal, adjectival, pastoral)
5. -ant: (verdant, dormant)
6. -an: (gargantuan, Machiavellian)
7. -ian: (Christian, pedestrian)
8. -ful: (wonderful, beautiful, masterful, plentiful, delightful)
9. -ar: (peninsular, jocular, popular)
10. -ile: (mercantile, fragile, docile, juvenile, mobile)
11. -ish: (Jewish, outlandish)
12. -ial: (partial, marsupial, adverbial)

So there are at least a dozen. Maybe even more.

But I do wonder why adjective endings developed the way they did. [Editor’s note. It probably has something to do with declensions in Latin. --RWP] Why do we say “a prepositional phrase”and not “a prepositionic phrase? Why do we say “gargantuan”? Why not “gargantuous”? And why did the Sherman brothers write “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” for the Mary Poppins movie instead of, say, “Supercalifragilociousexpialidistic”?

Adjectives are indeed funny -- not “funny Ha ha” but “funny peculiar” -- and don’t even get me started on the differences in British punctuation and American punctuation.

13 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I thought that Americans measured their hat sizes in gallons - as if heads were vessels containing liquid. You must have heard of the ten gallon cowboy hat which is worn by many Texan men. In fact, I guess you have several of them in your closet.

Elephant's Child said...

Swollen heads?
Sizing is a random mystery to me. And I suspect I am not alone in having multiple sizes of clothing in my wardrobe, all of which fit as well (or as badly) as each other.
I think I would exclude the final three 'ines' from your list since they are not animals.

rhymeswithplague said...

If the comments above seem to have nothing to do with this post, it is due to the fact that after receiving a comment from Hilltophomesteader I decided to change the original post, expanding it and removing parts of it.

Hilltophomesteader said...

Thank you, RWP. Even though we've not met 'face to face', I consider you one of my very good friends. Say hi to the missus for me. I haven't been around much as my mother's health declines, but am hoping to take time to catch up in the evenings now that the days are a bit shorter. Happy Fall (my favorite) to you and your beautiful wife!

Snowbrush said...

Shouldn’t these words--and parts of words--be alphabetized?

“N. Divine - like a god, like God”

Would that include me?

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Murine = of mice or rats

The difference between British and American punctuation is that we do it properly.

Jim said...

Like I like your list
Like I think the last one is different because it isn't real, the others are
Like congratulations on your eight. ~~ BTW, my nine is in December.
Like I'm glad you are still posting
Like those pretty mountains seem to be covered with smoke
Like your flowers are pretty.
Like, but don't trip on the table when you sleep walk
Like if I were diagraming a sentence with a word ending with "ive" I would dangle that word beneath the word modified
..

rhymeswithplague said...

Jim, like I'm probably the only one who can figure out what you're talking about -- like you're right about Tatooine not being real but my pastor who blogs as jedipastorken would probably beg to differ with you -- like my 8 and your 9 refers to my eighth anniversary of blogging in my Sep. 28 post, and like the pretty mountains are in my

rhymeswithplague said...

(continued) Oct. 24th post and the pretty flowers and table are in my Oct. 9th post, and like your instincts are spot on in putting an adjective with an "-ive" ending on a slanted line under the noun it modifies if you were diagramming a sentence, and like are you sober this afternoon?

Jim said...

II'm getting old, Robert. Among other things I can't remember is not being sober.
I can't even remember the last donut I ate but it was over nine years ago.
..

rhymeswithplague said...

Jim, like I didn't really think you weren't sober, I was, like, just trying to be, like, funny. No offense intended.. I am old too, 74, but my mental and math faculties are still sharp enough to realize that you started blogging and gave up donut eating at about the same time. Was this entirely coincidental or was there a cause-and-effect relationship there? If the latter, what I really am interested in knowing is did starting to blog cause you to stop eating the donuts or did stopping eating the donuts cause you to start blogging?

Jim said...

Coincidence. My sister told me about a fellow in our home town who had a blog. I found it and tried to make a smart alec comment. The blog wouldn't allow non-Blogger comments so I got a profile that day. I've been blogging ever since. In 2008 small group of us met at his farm in Nebraska where he hosted Blogstock 2008.
Donuts. Every Sunday morning between the early service and Sunday school I would have a donut with a cup of hot drink, coffee or hot chocolate or the likes. At that time I was also slowly gaining weight so I cut donuts. I came really clean and haven't eaten one since.
My age is 82 after my birthday October 30. I am fairly healthy with help of doctors. Mainly I have to keep chloresteral down now. I have a repaired abdominal artery aneurysm (AAA) repaired with a stent graft (2001) and three heart stents and one in my left renal artery. Also trouble with osteoporosis/osteopenia problems with one very painful collapsed disc which was repaired. Otherwise except for a knee joint replacement in 2011 I do fine.
TMI ?
..

Jim said...

Oh yes, Robert, I knew you weren't serious about being sober.
And Blogstock 08:
http://jimmiehov.blogspot.com/search/label/Blogstock%20%2708
..