Post by Dingbat Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden Post by Dingbat
Why is a suffix of appurtenance called so?
According to an example of the so-called suffix of appurtenance, the terminal
'i' in Israeli and Bengali is a 'suffix of appurtenance'. The 'a' word, to
my eye, makes the Israeli look like an appendage of Israel.
What would be wrong with the alternative of describing Israeli as the genitive
"Israel" and "Bengal" are not Latin nouns of the second declension, so
why would you want to inflect them as if they were?
I don't know about the case of Israeli but in the case of Bengali, you borrow
it after the 'i' has already been added, in a language that's not English.
So, it's not English that's adding the suffix.
Now, since 'cuisine of Bengal' and 'Bengali cuisine' are equivalent and 'of'
is an alternative to a genitive, why not call Bengali a genitive of Bengal?
For comparison, 'cuisine of Mexico' and 'Mexican cuisine' are equivalent.
Does anyone call the 'an' in 'Mexican' a suffix of appurtenance?
They certainly don't call it a genitive.
"Suffix of appurtenance" is not a standard term as far as I know. I can understand what it means, but I've never heard it before. You haven't
even said where you found it. Some century-old grammar? If whoever
used it to describe the -i in Bengali is still alive, you could ask them
whether they would also apply it to the -an of Mexican. They should.
You seem to be fixated on the idea of "appendage", which you apparently
see as degrading to the people so denoted. But in fact "appurtenance"
simply relates to the verb "appertain", which means to belong to in the
broadest possible sense. "Of or pertaining to" used to be a standard
feature of dictionary definitions of adjectives: Mexican, adj. Of or
pertaining to Mexico. Could be Mexican food, Mexican history, Mexican
literature, etc etc. Is it really degrading to say that people "pertain"
or "appertain" to their nation?