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05/01/2003: ad hoc pejoratives...

As I was browsing a linguistic site I found an interesting article about how pejorative nouns in German are derived (the link is to the English abstract), and I had never really consciously noticed this mechanism, i. e. that you can make nouns out of verbs either regularly or pejoratively. Basically in German if you have a verb (it works for most, though not for all), like "tanzen" (to dance), there's a number of nouns connected to it, like "Tanz" (dance), and "Tanzen" (dancing), but also "Tanzerei" and "Getanze" and the latter two are pejoratives. The article looks at the slight usage differences between the two kinds of pejoratives (the one with Ge- and the one with -ei) and all sorts of specialized stuff, but what struck me is that I never really paid attention to this nifty feature, though it's rather common, especially in spoken language. And thinking about this I also noticed that English doesn't really offer a comparable mechanism for an ad hoc pejorative, or does it?

Posted by RatC @ 05:03 PM CET
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