free ebooks

A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

This indicates the nature of words like cockerel


Ock.--_Bullock_, _hillock_.

Kin.--_Lambkin_, _mannikin_, _ladikin_, &c. As is seen above, common in proper names.

En.--_Chicken_, _kitten_, from _cock_, _cat_. The notion of diminution, if indeed that be the notion originally conveyed, lies not in the -en, but in the vowel. In the word _chicken_, from _cock_, observe the effect of the small vowel on the c.

The consideration of words like _duckling_, and _gosling_, is purposely deferred.

The chief diminutive of classical origin is--

_Et_, as in _trumpet_, _lancet_, _pocket_; the word _pock_, as in _meal-pock_ = _a meal-bag_, being found in the Scottish. From the French -ette, as in _caissette_, _poulette_.

The forms -rel, as in _cockerel_, _pickerel_, and -let, as in _streamlet_, require a separate consideration. The first has nothing to do with the Italian forms _acquerella_ and _coserella_--themselves, perhaps, of Gothic, rather than of classical origin.

In the Old High-German there are a multitude of diminutive forms in -el; as _ouga_ = _an eye_, _ougili_ = _a little eye_; _lied_ = _a song_, _liedel_ = _a little song_. This indicates the nature of words like _cockerel_.

Even in English the diminutive power of -el can be traced in the following words:--

_Soare_ = a deer in its third year. _Sor-rel_--a deer in its second year.--See "Love's Labour Lost," with the note.

_Tiercel_ = a small sort of hawk, one-third less (_tierce_) than the common kind.

_Kantle_ = _small corner_, from _cant_ = _a corner_.--"Henry IV."

_Hurdle_; in Dutch _horde_; German, _hurde_. _Hording_, without the -l, is used in an allied sense by builders in English.

In the words in point we must assume an earlier form, _cocker_ and _piker_, to which the diminutive form -el is affixed. If this be true, we have, in English, representatives of the diminutive form -el so common in the High Germanic dialects. _Wolfer_ = _a wolf_, _hunker_ = _a haunch_, _flitcher_ = _a flitch_, _teamer_ = _a team_, _fresher_ = _a frog_,--these are north country forms of the present English.

The termination -let, as in _streamlet_, seems to be double, and to consist of the Gothic diminutive -l, and the French diminutive -t.

s. 271. _Augmentatives._--Compared with _capello_ = _a hat_, the Italian word _capellone_ = _a great hat_, is an augmentative. The augmentative forms, pre-eminently common in the Italian language, often carry with them a depreciating sense.

The termination -rd (in Old High German, -hart), as in _drunkard_, _braggart_, _laggard_, _stinkard_, carries with it this idea of depreciation. In _buzzard_, and _reynard_, the name of the fox, it is simply augmentative. In _wizard_, from _witch_, it has the power of a masculine form.

The termination -rd, taken from the Gothic, appears in the modern languages of classical origin: French, _vieillard_; Spanish, _codardo_. From these we get, at secondhand, the word _coward_.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us