On 15 Jun 2017 22:19, "Alex Fink" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

On Thu, 15 Jun 2017 18:17:44 +0000, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>
>Brillig is a time of day

So indeed spake Humpty Dumpty: four in the afternoon, the time for
broiling.  And my own Sprachgefühl does pick up on the root's affinity with
"broil", though more so with "brilliant".  But there's no way that's the
name of a time!  It's clearly an adjective, nicht wahr?

A couple of minutes before reading your message, and forgetting (at least
consciously) the authorial fiat, I found myself reflecting on the meaning
of _brillig_, concluded it is more plausibly a noun than an adjective and
therefore likely is a time (tho perhaps a time of year rather than a time
of day).

The Germanic adjective formant is the thing to leap to my mind,

Me too, but it can't be right for English, & this obviously isn't a text
where learned borrowings from German would be expected. Given
penny--Pfennig, the adjective ought to be _brilly_.

because stressless "-ig" isn't really something you get in English at all.

Indeed. But for the dialects I know, it doesn't *have* to be stressless
(i.e. in the environment following stressed short vowel + l), and for my
lect it isn't.

("Earwig"?  "Periwig", "whirligig" "thingamajig" etc., our own Fiziwig?
all of those have at least some degree of secondary stress, I'd say.)

Yes. The name _Padraig_ for me has a weak final syllable ending in g, but I
can't think of others off the top of my head.

And an adjective, say meaning 'it was bright and boiling [in weather]',
fits the parse just as well as a noun.

Carroll wanted a time, he should have gone for "brilling".

(Do Canadians normally use Big Louie sentences?("Bernie says we sign, we

Gerunds as time names there are plenty of: "morning", "evening",
"gloaming", "dawing" (though that one's been reformed in mainstream English
to "dawn").

But, my reasoning went, polysyllabic adjectives normally have recognizably
adjectival endings, whereas it's not unusual for polysyllabic nouns to not
have recognizably nominal endings. If it's a noun, the context makes it
likely it denotes a time. There is a greater number of uncommon terms for
times of year than for times of day, so I figured it for a time of year.