Thursday, March 1, 2012

Breaking into morphology

With porn!

Well, actually this word occurred to me during our intro to morphology. Obviously pornography is now an English word. But so is porn. I may ask the professor about this in class, which does make me wish I had a better example. Anyway.

Here's what I see. Pornography is the free morpheme in English. Clearly, we've got lots of -graphy words, but you can't make any old thing into a -graphy. You can't say *stone-ography. You've got to say lithography—ah here we go, an example I can bring up in class. If you're really familiar with printing, you can say litho. But since I'm on my blog, I'll use porn to help drive traffic.

Anyway. Pornography is the first entry of the word into English. Porn is a newer word shortened from an older word. If it didn't happen within my lifetime, it certainly did within my parents'. So what's the real word formation here?
Or does the new word supercede the old one?
  N       Af
Worse, what happens in the future when people forget that one is older than the other and they misanalyze? Or do we already do that?