Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 11:30:30 EST
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: Decision Making ProcessEEZ
On processEEZ: I've always taken this to be an analogical formation, perhaps
not strictly hyper-correction but still what might be called hyper-urbanism.
The basis is alternations of the form we have in 'basis/bases', 'crisis/crises'
and their ilk, all involving semantically abstract nominals (cf. also matrix/
matrices). Now of course 'process' is not in the same class as 'basis' or
'crisis' either declensionally or even orthographically, but (and this is
crucial) it IS related to them semantically. It thus forms a minimal pair with
an orthographically parallel NON-abstract NON-conceptual word like 'mattress',
whose plural is never hyper-urbanized to 'mattressEEZ'. Nor do we have
'actressEEZ', 'countessEEZ', or (parallel to 'matrices') 'waitressEEZ'.
Perhaps the proposed label of 'affectation' is indeed appropriate here, at
least for the initial occurrences, but it would appear that there's no
longer any conscious affectation involved for many speakers now that the
long vowel version of the plural has become somewhat standardized.