More on 'disenfranchised'
My preference for disfranchised over disenfranchised, expressed in a post last Saturday, has drawn a response from Michael Covarrubias at Purdue — he maintains the blog Wishydig. He challenged my position on etymological and morphological grounds, and I am compelled to admit, as they say in British criminal circles, it’s a fair cop.
What impressed me more, however, was a couple of sentences in the note by which he informed me of his post: “I read your blog regularly and appreciate it very much. I'm a linguist and an obnoxious descriptivist. It's voices like yours that give me hope that prescriptivism is not the enemy.”
In this season of goodwill, or attempts at goodwill, it’s encouraging to see the prescriptivist and descriptivist sit down together in mutual respect.
I’m also indebted to Mr. Covarrubias for a new word, hathos, a term for attraction to something one finds repellant. It is a delight to be able to name a phenomenon of which one was dimly aware without having previously brought it into focus. Hathos is just the word to describe one’s attitude to fried bologna sandwiches, the oeuvre of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Paula Deen’s cookery, the films of Adam Sandler, the New York Post — perhaps this word is worth a separate post, with a call for nominations.
Compliments of the season, Mr. Covarrubias.