LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||24/AGO/2007 3:03 AM|
"I'll meet you there 7-ish." “I’ll meet you around 7” “near enough to 7 but not 7 precisely”
the ‘–ish’ suffix is often used as a way of adding imprecision, vagueness, subtlety to a concept expressed by a word.
There are some words like “peckish”, where the –ish suffix has really become part of the word (“I feel a bit peckish”; “I feel a bit hungry/like having something to eat”) from “to peck” (eat like a bird, like a chicken).
I suppose there is an element of politeness / psychological distance added by the ‘–ish’ suffix because it softens (an often negative / pejorative) statement by making it less direct – it is, I suppose, a rhetorical device, which may allow you to say something (without actually saying it!)
To get your point across – without appearing too forthright in your opinion.
There are many examples - though I can’t think of any right now
With the example "ESL-ish" - I suppose this would carry a negative connotation about the style of language employed - but it's a bit difficult to say without a context
There will also be other aspects to the meaning use of the ‘–ish’ suffix which I have not covered in the brief and rapidly prepared 'starting point' discussion above
Good luck in improving your understanding and may the "-ish" thread develop with constructive information about this verbal wonder of English! (no '-ish' suffix there though!)
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