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On Tue, 3 Oct 2000, dirk elzinga wrote:

> But not always accurate. A favorite example I give to my students when
> the subject of derivation comes up is the suffix -hood in English. It
> attaches to nouns to create abstract nouns meaning something like 'the
> property of being an X'. Thus, father -> fatherhood; knight ->
> knighthood, etc. However, it won't work with all nouns: candle ->
> *candlehood (although one could imagine what that might mean).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that -hood only works on words
which satisfy the criterion "something which a person or people can be".
I got a quick and dirty list of -hood words by grepping /usr/dict/words,
and here they are:

adulthood
babyhood
boyhood
brotherhood
childhood
falsehood
manhood
motherhood
nationhood
parenthood
peasanthood
sainthood
squirehood
widowhood
womanhood

All but two are built on a noun which describes a kind of person.  Of the
remaining two, falsehood and nationhood, falsehood is built on an
adjective which can apply to a person (although I admit I'm not sure that
is the sense of 'false' which is being used here), and nationhood is built
on a noun which describes a group of people.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list.  Can anybody come up with more
counterexamples beyond "falsehood"?

> And there are nouns which don't conform to the "regular" pattern:
> neighbor -> neighborhood (does *not* mean 'property of being a
> neighbor').

This is true.  However, many of these -hood words have secondary meanings
parallel to neighborhood, if you interpret neighborhood as "a collection
of neighbors".  Womanhood and knighthood can mean "womankind" and "knights
as a class or body", respectively.  Brotherhood and priesthood can mean a
particular collection of brothers or priests.  Maybe neighborhood had a
secondary meaning such as the these, which then became its primary
meaning.

Amanda
Ecstatic that the t-shirt is back!  Although I really liked "your language
here".