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#31054 - 06/02/01 08:03 PM Metanalysis
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I offer this for any commentary and discussion.
The first sentence is the source.

"It's Word Flex from FlowGo.com and the eUniverse Entertainment Network

The history of ourselves and our nation lies in the (sometimes) strange origins of how words work their way in to our common language.

Today's Word:


Metanalysis is a technical term in linguistics that was coined in 1914 by Otto Jespersen, a Danish linguist who was one of the great grammarians of English.

Metanalysis can be broadly defined as 'a reinterpretation of the division between words or syntactic units', as the Oxford English Dictionary does. A usual example in English is the shift of the letter n based on a misunderstanding of the previous indefinite article a/an. So--and I'll be oversimplifying some of the changes here--the word adder was originally nadder, but the phrase "a nadder" was reinterpreted as "an adder." Likewise, apron was originally napron.

In the other direction, newt 'type of salamander' was originally ewt, but "an ewt" was taken as "a newt." And nickname was originally an ekename (eke is an archaic term for 'also').

Metanalysis is also used to refer to syntactic interpretations. Jespersen gave the following example: "It is good for a man/not to touch a woman," which could be apprehended as "It is good/for a man not to touch a woman."

Sometimes metanalysis is given an especially broad range, where it is applied to any process of counter-etymological regularization--as when the plural of Walkman becomes Walkmans instead of Walkmen, or when the nonce past tense of sing-song is sing-songed instead of sang-song. But it's likely that by the time you encounter the word used in such a restricted way, you'll already be a linguist, and won't need my help anymore."


I will start, by saying that I had never heard of an ekename. Also that I have given much thought to the
syntactical differences that can occur.

#31055 - 06/03/01 10:22 AM Re: Metanalysis
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
The dictionary gives "archaic" meaning of "eke" as "also". That makes ekename the ancestor of police blotter notation "aka" meaning "also known as".

#31056 - 06/03/01 10:29 AM Re: Metanalysis
wow Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
So are our screen names ekenames?

A word found in Regency-period books : nunchon which is now our luncheon. According to OED origin unknown ... a meal taken between two main meals which became a light noon meal.

#31057 - 06/03/01 10:51 AM Re: Metanalysis
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
earlier lunchion, lunshin < prec., prob. after dial. nuncheon, a snack, lunch < ME nonachenche, lit., noon drink a lunch; esp., a formal lunch with others

"nonachenche" = noon drink . That explains origin nicely

#31058 - 06/03/01 06:11 PM Re: Metanalysis
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
So, by the same theory of metamorphosis, are all "H' nouns that take the "an" instead of "a" destined to become "N" nouns...i.e. an honor...noner?

#31059 - 06/05/01 12:27 AM Re: Metanalysis
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I think it's used as a descriptive term for what has happened in some words rather than a predictive theory of what will happen in all cases.



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