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Wednesday: January 28, 2009

Yet Another Peculiarity of the English Language

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:17 PM GMT-0500

Until I sat down today to compile a review worksheet on Latin prepositions, I had never noticed an inconsistency or inconcinnity in the names of the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. If non-visible frequencies of light are seen as metaphorically going beyond or falling short of the visible spectrum, the opposite of ‘ultraviolet’ should be ‘citrared’. On the other hand, if they are seen as metaphorically placed above or below the visible spectrum, the opposite of ‘infrared’ should be ‘suprared’. I wonder if other languages are more logical or (if you like) more pedantically Latinate.

Which reminds me: when I first saw the word ‘infrared’ in (I suppose) 5th or 6th grade, I thought it was a disyllable, the perfect passive participle of a verb infrare* that I had somehow never run across before. I wonder if that is a common misapprehension.

And speaking of illogic: why does the spell-checker tell me to write ‘pedantically’ rather than ‘pedanticly’? There’s no such word as ‘pedantical’. I suppose I could research this, but I have more worksheets to put together before I go to bed. I would have thought that two Snow Days in a row would be enough to catch up on my work and my blogging, but apparently not.

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