Monday, June 16, 2008

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional, cleverly named series on words I'm looking up)

infix. n. Linguis. a morpheme that is added within a word (Ex.: -o- in

affix. n. Linguis. a prefix, suffix, or infix

morpheme. n. the smallest meaningful unit or form in a language: it may be an
affix (Ex.: un- in undo or ‘er in doer) or a base (Ex.: do un undo)

Source: Webster’s New World College Dictionary


Joel said...

For some reason I love the word morpheme. It just sounds meaningful and concise.

1. It also sounds a little like "morphine."
2. It reminds me of "verbule," which I vaguely recall hearing on a beer (Miller Lite?) commercial back in the 70's or 80's. I don't think it's an English word, but it should be. The meaning I associate with it (from that dimly recollected ad) is "word."

June Casagrande said...

"Verbule" was in a beer commercial? That's crazy. (As you anticipated, it's not even in my "Webster's.")

My favorite beer commercial from that era was Michelob's alluring promise that "weekends can happen anytime." As you can see in my "Free Booze for Sober People" post, I took that one a little too seriously.

I'm just glad I never got hooked on the morphemes.

Joel said...

I googled "verbule" and only found one page that's not a misspelling or in a foreign language; not a good sign. I swear, there was this comedian riffing about words and I thought it was a beer commercial but maybe it was just on TV and I assumed it was a beer commercial because that was where the funny was.

Actually, I was hoping that you or one of your readers could help prove that I'm either not crazy or at least that my craziness isn't completely idiosyncratic. But, really, I don't mind so much if I'm that kind of crazy. It's a beautiful word and, in fact, it would be better if I made it up myself--though even then it would be the result of a mishearing.

Yeah, I'm hooked on morphemes . . . and verbules. Which, I suppose, makes phonics the gateway drug.

June Casagrande said...

Hmmm... So you want to use MY readers as your guide to what's crazy?

Now THAT's crazy. : )

Hey, just had a thought. Might it have been "virgule"?

-- vir·gule n. A diagonal mark ( / ) used especially to separate alternatives, as in and/or, to represent the word per, as in miles/hour, and to indicate the ends of verse lines printed continuously, as in Old King Cole/Was a merry old soul. -- American Heritage Dictionary

Joel said...

Keeping in mind the rest of what I've said here and whatever else you've heard from me on your previous posts and the fact that I'm hooked on morphemes, and grammar et al., so much so that I cruise the blogs of grammarians (which is to say, bear in mind that I'm most certainly off in one way or several) . . .

I'm pretty sure there was a "b" and that he was referring to a word that meant "word" and was conspicuously not an official word.

But, um, yaknow [free associating again], this all reminds me of the song, Ariel, and the fact that my older siblings all thought it was "Mary L" (I guess because that sounded more like a girl's name to them). But, I, already at a young age having developed that morpheme habit, knew it was "Aerial," which, of course, it wasn't exactly but that was what it sounded like and part of what it meant (bombs bursting skyishly).

So, the point is, it is a fuzzy memory and there's no telling how I might have misunderstood. I'm still hoping. C'mon, you crazies, you got nothing for me?

I said, "Hi". She said, "Yeah, I guess I am." That was a sweet little song. . . .

P.S. I am sleep deprived and just came off an intense, extended weekend with several artists and lots of free thought and insanely wonderful human interaction (I know what you're thinking, but there were no pharmaceuticals--very little alcohol even, and I only drank one Pale Ale over the span 5 days; we did all meditate periodically, which, I suppose, might be considered inebriating). I blame my current quirkiness and loquacity on that. It is probably a spurious assertion. But don't underestimate the intoxicating effects of freedom, intimacy and sleep deprivation.

June Casagrande said...

Got it. I will in no way interpret your weekend-related confession to mean anything akin to: "We got the munchies and we made some spaghetti."

If you want, we can do this: Write out exactly what you'd like to ask all three of my readers and I'll make it into an actual blog entry -- since they're more visible than the comments section.

Of course I'll understand if you'd just rather get some sleep.

- J


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