Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 11:30:30 EST


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.