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Query Details

Query Subject:   O-words
Author:   Mikael Parkvall
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Morphology
Subject Language(s):  Danish

Query:   Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:08:40 +0100 (MET)
Mikael Parkvall

Regarding American English words ending in <-o>, such as ''weirdo'', ''wacko'',
''wino'', ''psycho'', ''fatso'' etc:

* What other words are there that could be considerd members of this class
(if it is indeed perceived as a class by Americans)?
* Has anybody suggested an origin of the <-o>?
* In colloquial Swedish, there is something somewhat similar, in that an
<-o> can be affixed to an adjective (or a noun) to form a noun denoting a
person having a certain quality (as in ''weird'' > ''weirdo''). This could
possibly be influenced by American usage. Are there similar derivations in
other languages as well? If it is the case that we have got it from American
English, it would be an interesting case of loan morphology.

Examples from Swedish: ''fetto'' 'fat person' (< ''fet'' 'fat'), ''neggo''
'negative person' (< ''negative'' 'negative'), ''dummo'' 'stupid person' (<
''dum'' 'stupid'), ''nordo'' 'neird' (< ''nord'' 'neird')

Mikael Parkvall
LL Issue: 9.84
Date posted: 19-Jan-1998


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