Difference between bi- and di-

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by arfa brane, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    And your point is... what, exactly?
    The bi- is the Latin prefix of "two" etc, for Latin roots, as explained. Your examples are all clearly related to "two".

    Apart from diota (as you say, straight from the Greek - hence the di- meaning "two"), the di- words are ALL from the Latin word dis ("apart") rather than meaning "two":
    diducere: From dis and ducere (to lead) - literally: to lead apart - i.e. to separate
    digerere: From dis and gerere (to carry, bear)- literally: to carry apart - i.e. to distribute
    dimidius: From dis and midius (middle) - literally: middle apart - i.e. half
    dirimo: From dis and rimo (to seek)- literally: to seek apart - i.e. delay, interrupt, part
    diruere: From dis and ruere (to cast down) - literally: to cast down apart - i.e. scatter, overthrow.
    divortium: From dis and vertere (to turn around, retreat, reverse) - literally: to reverse apart.

    So I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here, other than to reinforce the validity of the general rule I mentioned previously.
     
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps the only point I've managed to make is that biology doesn't use the word dismorphism.

    Or that Romans, by changing the prefix dis- to di- have confused biologists to the point they just make things up.

    Actually, I'm fairly sure di-morphism is the unchanged version of "having two of", bi-morphism is the Latinised version, so biologists are playing fast and loose with 2000+ year old etymology.
    The bastards.
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Dimorphism is the word that follows the general rule: Greek prefix for "two" (di-) following the Greek root for "form" (morphe).
    Bimorphism would, as my guess, be a more modern coinage due to Dimorphism already existing and meaning something different - as previously explained more than once.
    So biologists aren't "playing fast and loose" - there will always be exceptions to such rules.

    I also find your attitude somewhat puzzling: you posed a question with the thread title, were given the answer, and since it doesn't tally with your original thoughts you seem to want to reduce it to ridicule. Why? Are you that insecure you can't accept that you were in error? Or are you still trying to prove a point with an exception to the rule, as if this should be accepted as the general rule?
     
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  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Well, that's up to you all that, isn't it? Perhaps you aren't as good at reading someone's attitude as you like to think. On a forum, well . . .

    The answer I've been given tells me that there is no difference between bi- and di- (in Latin), but no, I don't accept that answer as being some kind of rule. You say the word dimorphism follows this rule. Are you sure about that? How confident are you that the prefix is not a contraction of dis-? Wouldn't that change your attitude, maybe a little?
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    It is up to me, yes. And I find what I perceive to be puzzling.
    To repeat: the general rule is that if the root word is Latin, the prefix will be Latin. If the root word is Greek, the prefix will be Greek.
    If you see a word of Latin origin that starts with di- then it is likely to have come from dis meaning "apart", and not a word meaning "two".
    If you see a word of Latin origin and you want to prefix it with "two of..." etc, then you would use bi-.
    But there are plenty of words where the word may be of Greek origin and the modern tendency is to use bi- rather than di- a more obvious one being BICYCLE, which is "bi-" meaning two (originally from the Latin) and "kyklos" meaning wheel. But this is a modern English word, and following the general rule should have been a DICYCLE. But in modern usage "bi-" is tended to be used more often than not outside of the sciences, irresepctive of the origin of the root word. It has become an anglicised prefix.
    It would, but dimorphism DOES follow the rule. I am very confident. Bimorphism is an exception. One of many.
    The closest you would get to anything like "dismorphism" is as a misspelling of dysmorphism, which comes from the Greek dus- meaning bad, and morphe meaning shape.

    So let me clarify again for you:
    If you are talking about when you would use di- or bi- (both meaning "two of / twice" etc) then the general rule is that since di- is Greek, this would prefix Greek words, and since bi- is Latin, it prefixes Latin words.
    Latin words that start in di- are mostly due to the shortening of dis meaning "apart".
    Hence all your previous examples following these notions, with the excpetion of bimorph (possible rationale for that coinage previously given) and words such as bicycle which are again modern English words. The difference between a dicycle and bicycle is the number of axels the wheels operate on (dicycle has wheels in parallel, a bicycle has one axel behind the other).

    No doubt you'll continue to argue in the face of reason.

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  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Ok I give up.
     

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