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Kent Hermie A. Marciano Paper no. 2.1 Morphology

EM 204: Structure of English Prof. John Frederick B. Tesoro

A discussion Paper: “Why linguists freak out about ‘abso-freaking-lutely”:

Have you encountered these words, “Abso-freaking-lutely”, “Ling-freaking-

guistics? How about this, “fan-freaking-tastic? If your answer is yes, I owe you for you are

truly rich in vocabulary. Because I myself didn’t really know what this exactly means. For

this is my first time I have encountered this word. Anyway, what makes it more important

now is I am about to learn this by just answering the set of questions at the back of my


Questions like, where does this word or set of words come from? Who coined this

term? Is it acceptable? Does it have a meaning? Is learning this group of words will give

us learning that can be used in the development one’s awareness in linguistic changes?

If not, why do we need to read and/or study this? Let’s us find its significance!

The abovementioned group of words are so called as ‘tmesis’. Tmesis as

denotatively defined as a linguistic phenomenon in which a word or phrase is separated

into two parts, with other words interrupting them.

On the other hand, it has been defined as “the separation of parts of a compound

word by an intervening word or words, used mainly in informal speech for emphasis (e.g.

can't find it any-blooming-where”. (

Furthermore, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, tmesis is a rhetorical device

usually interrupts normal speech and puts emphasis on certain words.

These archaic words are evident on the study conducted by James Bleeping

McMillan (1980). Additionally, according to the Eberspacher (2018), these group of words

are not new for it existed in the last few decades as exemplified in the writings of H.L

Kent Hermie A. Marciano Paper no. 2.1 Morphology
EM 204: Structure of English Prof. John Frederick B. Tesoro

Goshdarn Mecken in 1936. To answer the question where it was originated? It was first

used by the Romans and Greeks for special effects in literature.

However, another proof rose when it was recorded in the writings of the classical

poet George Bernard Shaw in his Pygmalion: Eliza Dolitttle: “Fan-bloody-tastic” or “abso-

blooming-lutely”. Another example is evident in the writings of William Shakespeare in his

poem entitled Richard II, ““How-heinous-ever it be”. Given these examples proved that

these inserted emphatic words have its origin and can still be considered as syntactically


In contrary to the structure, although it is syntactically acceptable, but it is said to

be that this wouldn’t meet the criteria of a morpheme that is why is it considered as

morphologically unacceptable. This rule states that a morpheme cannot be divided into

smaller meaningful parts without violating its meaning or without meaningless


Seemingly, it has a big impact to the development of a language for it influences

the way how we construct sentences using phrasal verb. This has been classified as

cutting phrasal verbs, an example of which is the phrasal verb “turn off” can be cut into

two parts by inserting another word, such as “radio,” to form the phrase “turn the radio

off“. In here the meaning of the phrasal verb is retained. In other instances, however, it

may change. Another category of English tmesis is formed by adding an infix in

modifiers. A good example for this is, “I got forty-bloody-seven /and that’s good e-

bloody-nough” (Tumba Bloody Rumba, by John O’Grady).

Kent Hermie A. Marciano Paper no. 2.1 Morphology
EM 204: Structure of English Prof. John Frederick B. Tesoro

In conclusion, the article entitled, “Why linguists freak out about

‘absofreakinglutely’ is something that confuse the readers and language learners and

at the same time challenges them. Challenges the language learners like me to know the

implication and its significance to the language awareness and development of every

individual. Thus, I therefore conclude that every word created either morphologically

coined or not has its true value and essence. Reading this article really made me more

information literate in terms of the newly coined words that create a big impact to the

learning of every human being.