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tached". [46] Yet, even the few given examples show that, on the one hand, there are cases, like touchy or fishy that are not covered by the definition. On the other hand, even those cases that are roughly covered, show a wide variety of subtle shades of meaning. It is not only the suffix that adds its own meaning to the meaning of the root, but the suffix is, in its turn, affected by the root and undergoes certain semantic changes, so that the mutual influence of root and affix creates a wide range of subtle nuances.

But is the suffix -y probably exceptional in this respect? It is sufficient to examine further examples to see that other affixes also offer an interesting variety of semantic shades. Compare, for instance, the meanings of adjective-forming suffixes in each of these groups of adjectives.

1.

eatable (fit or good to eat)1 lovable (worthy of loving) questionable (open to doubt, to question) imaginable (capable of being imagined)

2.

lovely (charming, beautiful, i. e. inspiring love) lonely (solitary, without company; lone; the meaning of the suffix does not seem to add any thing to that of the root)

friendly (characteristic of or befitting a friend) heavenly (resembling or befitting heaven; beautiful, splendid)

3.childish (resembling or befitting a child)

tallish (rather tall, but not quite, i. e. approaching the quality of big size)

girlish (like a girl, but, often, in a bad imitation of one)

bookish (1) given or devoted to reading or study; (2) more acquainted with books than with real

1 The italicised words roughly convey the meanings of the suffixes in each adjective.

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