Monday, August 12, 2013

Haplologizing the peeververein

Catching up with the well-deserved praise for John McIntyre posted at Barrie England's Caxton blog, I noticed a tiny and (to me) very interesting slip. England wrote:
The peeverein should read [McIntyre's post], but of course they won’t. I recommend it in its entirety (it isn’t long), but here are his trenchant comments on some of the tired old grumbles.
Now, peeververein, with four syllables, is John's own coinage, as far as I know; it's a bastard German word meaning "band of peevers" or "society of peevers." I admired it when it debuted, but I also wondered if it wasn't a good candidate for haplology, the excision of one of those nearly identical syllables. Why not just make it peeverein? And that's what Barrie England has done.

It's true that it's not a perfect haplology if you're approximating a German verein, pronouncing the ver more or less like "fair." (At least that's my distant memory.) But if we can haplologize odoriferous to odiferous (as many do), surely we could handle peeverein for peeververein? I eagerly await the response of the esteemed neologist himself ...


empty said...

I admire "Peeververein", too, greatly, but I've never thought it had much of a chance with those who don't happen to know the word "verein".

John McIntyre said...

Challenged by John Cowan, the doughty Mr. England answered, "Then I have formed my own portmanteau word."

Separately, I responded to a tweet by Ms. F
reeman: "I'm hardly in a position to dictate orthography. Once you let go of a coinage, it circulates freely."

We can safely leave it to the lexicographers to sort out.

Anonymous said...

I've just made this comment on Johns's Facebook page:

I should perhaps say that my use of ‘peeverein’ was not intentional. I simply used it as I thought I remembered it without checking what John had actually written. I’m familiar with the German ‘Verein’ and should have realised. As it is, I rather like the way the shorter word makes the central ‘ver’ do duty both for the English part and the German.

Anonymous said...


Catanea said...

I didn't realize haplography and diplography applied to speech. I thought they were almost purely calligraphic phenomena.
One of the most common performed by all English-writing calligraphy students is "rember".
As soon as somebody writes it we get to introduce the terms.
The double-duty of the "ver" is excellent!

Jan said...

I assume "haplography" would apply only to a written instance of haplology (the more general term).

John Cowan said...

Not a soul has commented on my crafty use of haplogy. Pfft. See "The Final, Complete, Authoritative List of Self-Describing Linguistic Expressions".

Unknown said...

That would mean "society of urinators"