There’s a bunch of adjectives that end either in “ic” or “ical” (geographic/geographical, historic/historical, electric/electrical). In some cases they can be used interchangeably, in other cases there are subtle differences based on usage. For example, see this thread from another forum on “historic” vs. “historical.”
In the case of “scientific” vs. “scientifical” we have something else going on. Some dictionaries include “scientifical,” but spell-check flags it. Google “scientifical” and you get 422,000 hits. Google “scientific” and you get 562,000,000.
Google Ngram provides this interesting record of usage for “scientifical.” Seems to show that the word has become obsolete (or nearly so).
My best guess is that since a “subtle distinction based on usage” never emerged, as it did for some of those other ic/ical adjectives, “scientific” won out since it was a simpler/shorter way to convey the same meaning. The dictionaries I found that included “scientifical” all listed “scientific” as a synonym.
Although I wouldn’t object to someone using “scientifical,” I wouldn’t use it myself. Nor do I see it in use in scientific publications, and I read a lot of those.
That’s terrific, fantastic. But even the -ic words that are unpaired with -ical words terrifically, fantastically, typically form the adverb with -ically. (Exceptions exist: publicly).
Parenthetically: Doesn’t cyclically seem like a fake word? Can you say it five times fast?
(Not parenthetic, but idiosyncratically the main reason I posted, albeit an eccentric tangent.) I heard someone pronounce something oddly. The speaker was a math geek, so take it with a grain of salt. He was talking about the arithmetic mean. Now, arithmetic as a noun has primary stress on the second syllable, and a secondary stress on the fourth. But arithmetic as an adjective has a completely different stress pattern, with primary stress on the third syllable, and a secondary stress on the first.
This individualistic guy was pronouncing arithmetic in arithmetic mean as if arithmetic were the noun, as it might be pronounced in the question “What does arithmetic mean?”
To me that is the same as nonsensically putting the noun stress on a paired verb: record, record; compress, compress; produce, produce; upset, upset; present, present; permit, permit; suspect, suspect. There are many, many others.
Has anyone else ever heard this quizzical pronunciation?
Math geek or not, that’s the kind of pronunciation error I would expect from someone who learned the term “arithmetic mean” from a book but never heard the term spoken. I taught math and science for 30 years, and never heard a colleague (or student) pronounce it the way your math geek did. I’d be curious to know how old that person was, as I find that type of mispronunciation increasingly prevalent the younger in age groups you go.
I knew the word epitome from my early readings (and had probably heard it spoken), and had deduced its meaning from context. When I read it I pronounced it (in my head) with a long “O” sound. If I ever did pronounce it aloud, nobody ever corrected me, but then, it’s not the kind of word a teenager finds the need to use that often. Not sure exactly how or when I made the connection and started pronouncing it correctly, but it was sometime during high school.
Other examples of words of this kind: segue, hyperbole, forte, colonel.
I once knew a chemistry “teacher” who pronounced the name Mendeleev with a long “E” (as one syllable “LEEV”). Never did correct her, although it really grated on my ears. Figured she’d get it right sooner or later, and I didn’t want to embarrass her.
You know, it works the other way too … learning a word you only hear spoken and never in print can lead to spelling errors. The classic example I always cite is a student of mine who once wrote (in an essay question): “for all intensive purposes” when he clearly meant “for all intents and purposes.” That one I corrected.
Other examples of words of this kind: alright vs. all right, some time vs. sometime, etc.
Heimhenge:The sometime author has been working on the book for some time. It will be published sometime in December, or perhaps at some time in the spring.Â Depends,Â doesn’t it? Sometimes the difference is subtle, but (to me) distinct.Â To go upstairsÂ is different fromÂ to go up stairs.Â I have a hard time with backyard and backseat as nouns, but think they’re fine as adjectives. A backyard barbecue happens in the back yard, in my world.
While I tend to agree with you on alright/all right, there seems not to be universal agreement.Â
A play I performed in some years ago had a number of teenage cast members who were devotees of the Harry Potter books. When they persistently talked about Â the motives of HER-mee-own, I gently suggested the four-syllable pronunciation. “We know,” said a young woman, “but that’s the way we all read it.”
Glenn: A question of mythic proportion! I categorically deny having heard noun pronunciation for the adjectivalÂ arithmetic.Â In Alaska a PER-mit doesn’t exist. It’s always a per-MIT. As one not raised here, I still find it horrific, even heretical, after hearing it for 32 years.
When I visited Alaska a few years back, I heard a lot of expressions that seemed unusual. PER-mit me to provide one example (so who do I apply to?). A bar I stopped at in Juneau was having a special on growlers. At the time, for me, a growler was a device used to test auto generators. Didn’t think the bar would be running a special on those, so I had to ask what it was. Very much enjoyed the answer. Next time I’m up that way I’ll need to look up Tromboniator … maybe we can quaff a few.Â :)
Well, now, Juneau is more than 600 miles from where I am, as the puffin flies, and to get there by air requires a flight to Anchorage first, making it about 700. Linguistically not quite homogeneous, Alaska. I don’t know what a Juneau growler is, but in Homer it’s a jug for carrying beer home from the brewery, which is excellent, by the way. My son is the main bartender at my favorite watering hole, and the output of the kitchen there is high quality. Let me know if you’re in the neighborhood!
Tromboniator said: My son is the main bartender at my favorite watering hole
Since the original question in this thread has been answered, I’ll PER-mit myself to digress …
Would that watering hole by any chance be the Salty Dawg? Had to check out Homer, since I did know of it, but not much. Before the economy tanked, my wife and I were looking at possibly getting a cabin on the Kenai to escape the Arizona summer heat. Might still, if my IRA ever fully recovers.
And yes, that’s exactly what the Juneau growler was. We brought one back to our cabin on the ship. Local microbrew. Forget the name, but it was very good.
Nope, it’s not the Dawg, and it’s not me in the photo. I don’t think I’ve been in the Dawg a dozen times in 32 years, though the bartender inÂ row 2, photo 1Â is a good friend. Fun bar, but it’s out on the Spit, by the harbor, where I don’t spend much time. And no live music. But they would let you in, Glenn.
Dan works at Alice’s Champagne Palace, on Pioneer Avenue. In fact, we just came from there, where we had a dinner meeting in which we discussed a choral/orchestral project (Brahms Requiem) and listened for several hours to a husband-and-wife, guitar-fiddle-vocal combo, doing folk, rock, bluegrass, blues, etc, and with whom I sang “Sixteen Tons.” In fact, both are violinists in our community orchestra, in which I play bass trombone and my wife plays clarinet, although we will sing the Brahms. While at Alice’s (I’m attempting to make this post word-relevant) we also played several rousing games ofÂ Quiddler.
As a Milwaukeean, it is my sworn duty to steer this discussion back to beer. Only an hour ago I came across the term growler for the very first time, in a story about the opening of a new establishment, in my old neighborhood, called Riverwest Filling Station. I come here to WayWord and findÂ growler again, for the very second time. I’m too thirsty to start researching the origin of growler right now. Does someone know off the top of their head?
Natatorium: Here’s a clue to the etymology behind growler:Â http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=growler
I heard the term for the first time around 2002, when I first visited Alaska. Now I see/hear it in use here in Phoenix at some microbreweries.
Glenn: I hadn’t heard the Brahms Requiem. Only have his Symphony No, 1 on my network server. But after you and Tromboniator remarked about it, I had to check it out. Found a beautiful performance on YouTube here:Â
Tromboniator: Always figured you played, based on your screen name, but never asked. I absolutely love the sound of a solo trombone. One of my all-time favorite performances is by Gary Valente in the Carla Bley Band. The song is called “The Lord Is Listenin To Ya, Hallelujah!” Don’t know if it’s a bass trombone, but you can see him on YouTube and probably tell.
This is the live performance that shows Valente playing:Â
But this is the studio version I fell in love with, set to scenery from the Black Forest (or what’s left of it):Â
Glenn: My wife and I sang the Brahms twenty years ago under the same director/conductor as this time. He was a pretty good choral director and a beginning orchestral conductor. He is now a superb choral director (newly retired from high school teaching) and a very fine orchestral conductor. We (my wife and I) are much better singers and players as a result of our 24-year affiliation and close friendship with this man. This piece sparked his love of music when he was thirteen. On several levels I am grateful to Johannes Brahms.
natatorium:Â Good job getting us back on track!
Heimhenge:Â I’ve run across the four-wheeled cab growler somewhere, possibly Arthur Conan Doyle, but I won’t swear to it. I’m guessing the name comes from the sound of the iron tires on cobblestone or brick.
Thanks for the Carla Bley/Gary Valente links. Great talents both. He’s playing tenor trombone.Â As a player, I’m not worthy to peel the gum off the bottom Valente’s sneakers. There’s a bass trombone sitting vertically on a stand just to the bass guitarist’s left (our right): the brass plumbing at 4:55 is tubing that can be engaged through valves to change the key of the instrument, allowing it to hit notes that are difficult or impossible on a standard tenor horn. We can’t see the bell or the slide. N.B.: It’s dangerous to use words like “impossible” where musicians are concerned.
Thank you, Heimhenge, for this great performance of the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. I am listening to it now, even as I type. It is a very lush and worthy performance. I have seen shots of the trombone section with both tenor and bass trombones playing. So, tromboniator, are you singing or playing in this upcoming performance? If I am not mistaken, a trombone gets the privilege of representing the “Last Trumpet” blast during the sixth movement (Denn es wird die Posaune schallen — For the trumpet (lit. trombone) will sound).
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