Word of the day – optionulsory

The term optionulsory was coined by one of my classmates the other day to refer to things that are somewhere between optional and compulsory – in this case the Linguistics Circle Research Seminars. Linguistics postgrads are expected and encouraged to attend these seminars, but are not absolutely obliged to do so.

I went to one of the seminars on Wednesday – quite an interesting talk on Spanish verbs which focused particularly on the preterite tense.

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

0 Responses to Word of the day – optionulsory

  1. Ewelina says:

    why not the other way round, something like ‘compultional’…? As a non-native I don’t know how it sounds..

  2. Jim Morrison says:

    Hi Ewelina, I think that sounds a bit too much ‘compulsion’ and not enough ‘optional’. If it were compulsional and not compultional (the pronunciation would be the same), I suppose it would be something like a thing that compells you to do something.

  3. Ewelina says:

    Thank you very much for the comment and I agree:) I just want to add one more impression that a non-native may have; Generally speaking,the root of a word determines the core meaning while suffixes usually helps to identify part of speech a particular word belongs to so in a way ‘optionulsory’ could be by a learner divided into the root ‘option’ and ‘ulsory’ turning the root noun into an adjective. I can’t think of any other adjectives having the same ending ( maybe illusion – illusory) but I don’t know if the ending ‘ulsory’ can be classified as a suffix at all. Thus, a learner can analyse -ulsory as an adjectival suffix having nothing to do with the word ( compulsory) but FORTUNATLY we have got the context :) which sorts out the problem described above. I was wondering whether blending of two nouns would cause less problems or maybe it is always a matter of a context, background knowledge.

  4. Benny Lewis says:

    I subscribe to the feed at urbandictionary.com – it always merges two words together in an amusing way. A recent one is similar to your example is “stoptional”
    From the site:

    When the braking of a car is left to one’s choice due to an unnecessary stop sign.
    Passenger: Did you just blow through that stop sign?

    Driver: Oh, no worries. It was stoptional.