cowardly...ly?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by tim840, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. tim840 Registered Senior Member

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    I thought of this after reading a post by EmptyForceofChi:

    Cowardly is an adjective - so, in fact, it is not the right word in this context. What he needs is an adverb: a verb that describes an action done in a cowardly manner. But what word would that be? Normally you would add an -ly to the end, but I am fairly certain that "cowardlyly" is not correct.

    So what to do here??

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  3. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    ...that you cravenly did not kill yourself
     
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  5. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

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    I say we kill anyone who needs the adverb form of "coward" and eat him.
     
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  7. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, but shall we do it cowardlylyish or braveishly?
     
  8. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

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    Ravenouslylyly. Ly.
     
  9. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    It's a quirklyish subject though, when you think about it.
     
  10. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

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    Definitelyly srsly srious business.

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  11. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    I wish I had access to the internet.
     
  12. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

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    Honestishly, it's too serious for you.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    "Cowardly" isn't the only adjective that looks like an adverb. "Friendly" springs to mind immediately.

    We have all simply learned not to build a sentence in which "friendly" must be turned into an adverb. We say "in a friendly way," "in a friendly manner," "as a friend," etc. Although in Southern dialect they created the word "friendly-like."

    Eventually "slovenly" popped into my head, but that's not a word I find myself wrestling with in casual conversation.
     
  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    I, too, use slovenly only in proper writing.
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    And then there's "slatternly." Another adjective you encounter every day.
     
  16. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    Let's not forget "homely" and "silly." The latter doesn't fit the morphological paradigm, but the last syllable rhymes, so "sillily" sounds silly.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    And then there's "comely."

    The suffix "-ly" is a contraction of "-like", and in proto-Germanic it was used to form adjectives, not adverbs. Modern German still forms adjectives in -lich. So do we actually. In the colloquial speech of some regions, people say, "My dog was lying there, all peaceful-like, and the cat whacked him for no reason."

    German in fact does not have many adverbs; it just uses adjectives for the purpose. Adverbs seem to be a recently invented part of speech in the Indo-European languages. We all have a couple of ancient adverbs like "very" and "well." (Although to be truthful "very" is a word we borrowed from the French less than a thousand years ago, along with use, question, second, and a bunch of other really important words you'd expect a language to already have.) But adverbs like quickly, boldly, thoroughly, mainly, importantly, etc... well you can see from the uniform structure that those were all created from adjectives and are not ancient words passed down from the Indo-European tribes.

    The Romans did the same thing: they used the suffix -mens to turn Latin adjectives into adverbs. The modern Romance languages still retain that technique; in French it turned into -ment and in Spanish and most of the other languages it became -mente. Rapidamente, solamente, normalmente.

    Perhaps one of our Russians can tell us how they form adverbs in Russian?

    Chinese of course doesn't even have adjectives. The word we translate as "fast" is really the verb "to be fast." So in order to say "I run fast," they have to say "I run, running is fast."
     
  18. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    In Sweden we use "lig" or "ligt" as "like", friendly-like would be vänskap-ligt (or vänskap-lig), honestly would be ärligt while honest would be ärlig, "är" is "be" in swedish, so ärlig is "be-like (where "be" is "what it is")".
     
  19. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

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    That made me laugh!

    The cat is still at large, and has friends. Peaceful-like dogs everywhere are in danger until these perpetrators are brought to justice.

    Beware... Hitman Kitties!

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    (Outrageous blog)
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    No! The point is that "peaceful-like" is a folksy adverb. The -ful suffix already formed the adjective. Peaceful dogs are in danger.
     

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