“ize” ing Words

The English language is a living and ever changing thing.  Stephen just said to me "we need to start socializing the idea of opening the cottage."  Now every time he used that word before I did not have a clue what he meant.  I think he meant we should start talking about it and doing some pre-planning, before we get down to specifics.  At least that is what I think he meant.

In the English language we can make a verb out of most anything by putting "ize" at the end.  Some are relatively obvious in meaning others are more obscure.  Now why do we make of new words?  Is the language not versatile enough or maybe our vocabulary is limited.  I read somewhere that Shakespeare used 2500 different words in his plays, but we are lucky if we have 300 to 500 words in our vocabulary.  I think that is amazing.  So if we cannot think of the word, we make one up or use a three or four letter acronym. 

I do not object to all this, I am just making an observation.

  1. Stephen Hayward Reply

    We are busy Productionizing a system as we speek.

  2. Maida Reply

    There is a most excellent Calvin & Hobbes quote: “verbing weirds language.”
    As for why we make up new words – the reasons are pretty wide-ranging: from wanting to describe a new concept, to wanting to identify oneself as part of a distinct subgroup (e.g. the “cool kids” who use a certain slang, or the “experts” who know the official terminology), to humour to …
    … it goes on.
    AS for the numbers – interesting, certainly, but on the other hand comparing someone’s totaly literary output to someone else’s average (conversational) vocabulary is a bit misleading. Perhaps it would be more accurate to compare Margaret Atwood’s literary vocabulary to her spoken vocabulary – I suspect there would still be a significant difference, which suggests that a large part of that imbalance is a question of register (or “style”) of language, rather than simply a lack of knowledge or vocabulary. Certainly still interesting, of course – in fact, that could be a neat sociolinguistic experiment.

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