Author Topic: Is "non-" a neoclassical element?  (Read 580 times)

Offline Natalia

  • Linguist
  • ***
  • Posts: 96
Is "non-" a neoclassical element?
« on: July 15, 2017, 12:06:08 PM »
Could you tell me please whether the form "non-" is to be regarded as a neoclassical form, like "astro-", "bio-", "geo", etc.?

Here is the passage from "Online Etymology Dictionary":
Quote
prefix meaning "not, lack of," or "sham," 14c., from Anglo-French noun-, from Old French non-, from Latin non "not, by no means, not at all, not a," from Old Latin noenum "not one" (*ne oinom, from PIE root *ne- "not" + PIE root *oi-no- "one, unique"). In some cases perhaps from Middle English non "not" (adj.), from Old English nan (see not).

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1582
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is "non-" a neoclassical element?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2017, 02:00:52 PM »
It depends on what you mean.

Yes, it is used in neoclassical derivations.

No, it is not restricted to neoclassical derivations. Actually, it's productive in Modern English.

Additionally there are other negative prefixes in neoclassical words, especially in- (and allomorphs im-, il-, etc.).

So does the inclusive or exclusive definition fit your purposes better?
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline Natalia

  • Linguist
  • ***
  • Posts: 96
Re: Is "non-" a neoclassical element?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2017, 03:12:19 PM »
The thing is, I'm not sure whether to treat forms like "non-elite" as neoclassical compounds because I'm not sure if "non-" belongs to the neoclassical group.

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1582
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is "non-" a neoclassical element?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 08:32:04 PM »
No, that's not a neoclassical word. I can also say "non-iphone" or "non-android" or "non-microsoft" in reference to mobile phones.

But some neoclassical words do have "non-". Or at least neoclassical words can combine with "non-". It seems a little odd to me to say that any time "non-" is used it becomes non-neoclassical, but I guess you could say that. Personally I think it just is optional, so it's not a determining factor in itself.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline Natalia

  • Linguist
  • ***
  • Posts: 96
Re: Is "non-" a neoclassical element?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 03:06:34 PM »
OK. Thank you for your helpful comments.