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Re: "cumulated" or "accumulated"

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: "cumulated" or "accumulated"
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 18:23:20 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

John Cowan wrote:
> Bob Proulx scripsit:
> > Like "kempt" and "couth" I only assume exist because "unkempt" and
> > "uncouth" exist.  But I never hear them used. :-) 
> "Kempt" now appears in the more regular form of "combed".

Of course I was thinking of Jack Winter's famous story published
25 July 1994 in the New Yorker.  For any that haven't read it this
will be a treat, if a somewhat pain one.  I highly recommend the
reading of it.


The links a little down from the top have several archives of it.

> > Flammable, inflammable.  
> "Inflammable" is the original word, meaning "capable of bursting into
> flames."  It was changed to "flammable" on the sides of fuel trucks
> because, as Quine says, semi-literacy should not be a capital offense.

Yes.  As in "inflame".  But because of "indestructible" there can be
confusion.  And that is not something to risk on a fuel truck and so
lowering the risk wins over language correctness.

In order to understand why a word is what it is you must understand
how the word arrived into the language.  If it has origin roots in
Latin or German or other makes a critical difference.  But having
arrived here the result of two very similar words may be quite
different.  I won't argue that is a good thing.


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