Thursday, 31 July 2014

Moten Word for the Day

mensin /me̞nsin/, noun: “cup; (outer) ear”

Eh… no, not like that ;).

Anyway, mensin is the diminutive form of menzola: “vase, jug”. It primarily refers to a small open container for liquids, i.e. a cup (not a glass though).

Probably through some kind of metaphorical extension, it has also come to be used to refer to the outer ear, i.e. what anatomists would call the pinna (or auricula). It doesn’t refer to the hearing organ itself, only to the visible part of the ear that projects outside of the head. In this sense, mensin is restricted to describing human ears. Animal ears are described using different words.

As a word, mensin is a typical case of what happens with derivations in human languages: however straightforward the derivation (here a simple diminutive), people will find a way to extend or change the meaning of the derived word in ways that couldn’t be expected just based on the meanings of the original word and of the derivation affix. So think about it when you create your conlang’s lexicon: it’s a great way to increase its vocabulary without having to agonise over yet another new root form :).


from Tumblr

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