# Speak English? An unlong, ilusual survey just for you

Gold Member

Part A Directions: Of the two options listed in each question, which one do you prefer? Allow yourself 5-15 seconds per question to decide.
Example. unmoral inmoral
If you prefer un-, record a u; If you prefer in-, record an i. Do not record the example. Do not skip ahead. It would be easier to compare if everyone recorded their answers in the same way, like this: 1i 2u 3i 4u 5u 6i 7i ...

1. unrational inrational
2. inmobilized unmobilized
3. unpossible inpossible
4. inlegal unlegal
5. unrelevant inrelevant
6. inoffensive unoffensive
7. unmature inmature
8. inregular unregular
9. unlegitimate inlegitimate
10. inpartial unpartial

Part B Directions: For each question, consider how acceptable each option is to you. Order the five options according to their acceptability, from most acceptable to least acceptable. Allow yourself 10-30 seconds per question to decide.
Example. inpretty impretty ilpretty irpretty unpretty
Record an n for in-; m for im-; l for il-; r for ir-; u for un-. Do not record the example. Again, like this: 1nrlmu 2murnl 3unmlr ...

1. imyoung unyoung ilyoung iryoung inyoung
2. ilfit infit irfit unfit imfit
3. irmature immature inmature ilmature unmature
4. unlate illate irlate inlate imlate
5. irlegal imlegal inlegal unlegal illegal
6. inrelevant ilrelevant irrelevant unrelevant imrelevant
7. imfalse unfalse ilfalse irfalse infalse
8. unoff iloff iroff inoff imoff
9. ilpossible inpossible impossible unpossible irpossible
10. inopen iropen ilopen unopen imopen

What is your native language? What other languages do you speak, if any? Have you read further into this thread?
Thanks!
____
So what did you think - easy, difficult? Did you notice any patterns? Have any guesses about how or why you came to any of your decisions? I'll post how and why I made up the survey in a little while.

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What is the real *internal* purpose of your survey ?

All of those whose English is not their native language sure learn how to make antonym/synonym of certain adjectives in English classes or frequent use of the language can also obtain themselves such rules.

But why you try to negate all of those 20 adjectives is what I really want to understandd?

I believe you will have more interesting results if you think of asking the users to give the opposites of negative adjectives by adding certain prefix. It looks better..

By the way, I don't see any pattern at all, I might watch someone's solutions in the end anyway

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Gold Member
Why didn't you take the survery? It should only take around 5 minutes.
Emieno said:
What is the real *internal* purpose of your survey ?
I'll explain and answer your questions, but I want to try to get some uncorrupted results first.

1u 2u 3u 4u 5u 6i 7u 8u 9u 10u

1urnlm 2ulrmn 3murln 4unmrl 5lurnm 6rulnm 7unmlr 8unlrm 9mnurl 10unmrl

English
No, I did not look ahead.

I found it to be kind of a pain in the butt in the second section when choices one and two were clear to me, but the latter three were often a toss up.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I am completely unaware of any very specific rules for choosing prefixes, so I'm going by what I "like".

In white ...

Part A :

1. u
2. u
3. u
4. u
5. u
6. trick quetion ? much prefer i, but can accept u
7. u
8. u
9. u
10. u

Hey, that's all u's ...hmmm, I guess there's a method to this madness, after all ? Thinking about this (essentially thorough examples) has helped me notice a rough pattern to the use of 'un's and 'in's.

[Part B : The prefixes I leave out are what I do not consider to be options at all (for obviousish reasons). Underlines are for when I think a certain prefix is the correct prefix, not just my favorite one for the word.

Edit : after reading Zoob's post and re-reading the OP, I realized I was misformatting responses to Part B. Correctly formatted responses are now within parenthesis. I've appended 'mrl' to the ends of choices for words in which none of them do it for me (assuming that will make data collection easier for you), but my position on their use is stated somewhere in post. The original responses remain. I have not actually changed any response - only the display. In fact, I've not even registered Zoob's responses; I only noticed the way they were formatted.

1. un in (unmrl)
2. un in (unmrl)
3. im un in (munrl)
4. un il in (ulnmr) (spent forvever on this one; still went with 'un' over 'il')
5. il un in (lunmr)
6. ir un in (runml)
7. un in (unmrl)
8. un in (unmrl)
9. im un in (munrl)
10. un in (unmrl)

Hey, this was amazing !! Just by thinking through these cases I've realized that most adjectives are prefixed with 'un' but their noun forms tend to be prefixed with 'in'. I do not like 'il'/'ir' as prefixes, unless the word following them begins with 'l'/'r'. And I don't like 'im' unless the words begins with 'm' or 'p' - and I might even accept a 'b' (only because it sounds okay - I can't actually come up with examples where a 'b' word is prefixed with with 'im'). Still, I think I'd prefer 'un' over 'im' for a vast majority of b-words. And if I had to (at gunpoint) make a choice between 'im', 'il' and 'ir' in words where I don't think they work, I'd pick 'im' first.

1. What is your native language?
2. What other languages do you speak, if any?

1. I'm not sure what is strictly meant by a native language ? English is the language I'm most comfortable with. It is not my national language or my mother tongue (regional language).

2. The only other languages that I can communicate more than just simple ideas in (not optimally, though) are Tamil and Hindi. I can communicate very simple ideas in French and Sanskrit, with a little brushing up. In many other languages, I only know several common (root) words and some sentences (almost entirely without a feel for the grammar).

3. Not yet. But I fully intend to, starting about 5 seconds from NOW.

Thanks for the exercise. I sure think I've learned from it, and imagine I'll be learning more as I look through other posts.

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
PS : Guess my opening statement doesn't hold any longer, but it was essentially true when I wrote it.

brewnog
Gold Member
1u 2u 3u 4u 5u 6u 7u 8u 9u 10u

1unmlr 2unmlr 3munlr 4unlmr 5lunmr 6runml 7unmlr 8unrlm 9munlr 10unmlr

English native language, speak a little French. Didn't read into thread, but had a quick glance at zooby's post to see how he'd formatted his choices. It was much harder in the second part trying to put the three non-obvious choices into an order of preference.

Hope it goes well!

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
HRW, I wonder if this mightn't do better in GD. Let me know, if you'd like to have it moved sometime.

I have to say some of Zoob's choices surprise me.

Gold Member
Thanks for the responses!

It would take a long time to explain all of the thinking behind this, so I'll rely on your knowledge to fill in the blanks.
If I want to say that someone or something is not [blank] (ex. not friendly, not exact, not empty), I can just form a 'new' word by affixing a prefix that negates the word to which it's attached: unfriendly, inexact, nonempty. Sometimes I'm not really creating a new word; unfriendly, inexact, and nonempty are already part of my vocabulary. I was interested in how different combinations of prefixes and base words fare among speakers when they encounter or create genuinely new words (words that aren't already part of their vocabularies).

As many speakers know, there are several negating prefixes to choose from: un-, in-, im-, ir-, il- (these last 3 are variants of in-), non-, etc. Because of their similarities I wanted to focus on un-, in-, and in-'s variants.
A quick note on im-, ir-, and il-: because of the way m, p, r, and l sound and are pronounced, when in- precedes m or p, in- is sometimes changed over time to im-: impractical, impossible, immature, immobilized. This change is called regressive or anticipatory assimilation (my knowledge of assimilation is sketchy, so I'll just leave it at that - anyone can google for info). The same thing happens when in- precedes r and l: irrational, illegal.

In the first part, I chose fairly common words where in- has already been assimilated to im-, ir-, or il- to see if speakers prefer in- or un- to the usual prefixes.
I think un- more clearly means not, while in- sounds and is pronouced more like the usual prefixes. (Feel free to let me know what you think about this!) So my thinking is that the choice between un- and in- will reflect whether speakers give more weight to meaning or sound (and spelling). There are other things to consider, but I think meaning and sound are the dominant ones.

Question 1 was just to let you adjust to the test - it doesn't count. In question 6, both options are already accepted 'old' words - it was a 'trick' question to see if you might have a general preference for un- or in-. For the other eight questions, there are two words each that begin with m, p, r, and l. One word where the negating prefix straightforwardly negates the base word, i.e., you could replace the word with not [blank] in a sentence, and the meaning would hardly change. The other word has a slightly different meaning than not [blank]. The decisions were based on my own judgement - it would be better to know how you categorize them.
The words synonymous with not [blank], the 'not' words: impossible, illegal, irrelevant, immature.
The words that have their own meaning beyond not [blank], the 'own' words: immobilized, irregular, illegitimate, impartial.

So I'm comparing your answers to four things: the first letter of the base word (m, p, r, l), the usual prefix (im-, ir-, il-), the usual meaning of the 'old' word (not, own), and your general preference for un- or in-. Of course, I wanted to keep the survey reasonably short, so I don't have much info at all. It's really just a fun exercise - nothing serious. But I may still learn something of value.

I won't bother to explain Part B - this is already long enough. Same basic ideas. All the questions count. Half are the 'not' words from Part A, with unfit added for un-, testing the meaning v. sound idea again. Half are words with very common negations/opposites (true/false, old/young, etc.), testing which prefix more clearly means not, among other things.

Anyway, if anyone has anything to add, let me know. I'd like to know what you were actually thinking about while making your decisions. If you remember thinking about the meaning or sound, that'd be great to know. If you considered spelling, put the words into sentences, noticed they were like other 'old' words, etc.
For instance, imyoung really gave me problems - I couldn't help but see it as I'm young. Other words had horrible sound patterns, sounded or looked like 'old' words (ex. illate - elate), didn't have any clear meaning, etc.

Gold Member
Gokul43201 said:
I am completely unaware of any very specific rules for choosing prefixes, so I'm going by what I "like".
Good - that's what I want - your own judgement as a speaker of the language. I expect native and non-native speakers to have different responses - we'll see.
Hey, that's all u's ...hmmm, I guess there's a method to this madness, after all ?
Actually, that really surprised me to see all u's - except for the one question (6) that was meant to expose a general preference for one or the other! Do you remember thinking about how the words sounded or what they meant?
Hey, this was amazing !! Just by thinking through these cases I've realized that most adjectives are prefixed with 'un' but their noun forms tend to be prefixed with 'in'. I do not like 'il'/'ir' as prefixes, unless the word following them begins with 'l'/'r'. And I don't like 'im' unless the words begins with 'm' or 'p' - and I might even accept a 'b' (only because it sounds okay - I can't actually come up with examples where a 'b' word is prefixed with with 'im'). Still, I think I'd prefer 'un' over 'im' for a vast majority of b-words. And if I had to (at gunpoint) make a choice between 'im', 'il' and 'ir' in words where I don't think they work, I'd pick 'im' first.
Great, that's all really interesting.
1. I'm not sure what is strictly meant by a native language ? English is the language I'm most comfortable with. It is not my national language or my mother tongue (regional language).
Heh, yeah, it can mean the language(s) you learned as a child and grew up speaking (biography) or the language(s) you are fluent in and/or use regularly (competence). Either is fine. I'm more interested in what you consider to be your first, main language(s), as opposed to any secondary languages, which you aren't as fluent in or comfortable with.
Thanks for the exercise. I sure think I've learned from it, and imagine I'll be learning more as I look through other posts.
Great, I expect to learn more from extra discussion than from the actual results, since I couldn't fit in many questions.

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Gold Member
Gokul43201 said:
HRW, I wonder if this mightn't do better in GD. Let me know, if you'd like to have it moved sometime.
Yes, please, that would be nice. I considered posting it in GD but wanted it taken semi-seriously. I'm not worried about that anymore - I'd rather have more responses anyway!

Here are my answers, if anyone's curious. I tried to clear my mind before taking it, but...

1u 2i 3i 4u 5u 6u 7i 8u 9i 10i

1unlrm 2ulnmr 3mnulr 4ulnmr 5lunrm 6runlm 7unmlr 8ulnmr 9munlr 10unlmr

Oh, yeah. My native language is English. I don't speak any other languages yet. No, I took the survery soon after posting it.

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hypnagogue
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
1u 2u 3i 4u 5u 6i 7i 8u 9i 10i

1unmrl 2ulnmr 3munlr 4lunmr 5lunmr 6runlm 7unmlr 8unmrl 9munrl 10unmrl

I guess it's pretty obvious I went with sounds more than anything else. I recorded what I guess is an unusually large amount of i's in part A, mostly because using the in- prefix for many of those words yields a new word that sounds more like the proper English word. For instance, "inpossible" sounds a lot like "impossible," so it doesn't violate my sensibilities very much. "Unpossible" doesn't sit well with me, though.

Although I mostly went by sound, for a couple of questions in part B there were some semantic interferences. I rated "ilfit" relatively highly because it sounds like the roughly synonymous phrase "ill fit," which managed to make it more acceptable for me than the bad sounding "infit." Also, I was very offput by "inoff," since the prepositions "in" and "off" have vaguely opposite meanings, but not in a clean or direct way (which adds more tension and makes it worse for me-- "inoff" sounds worse than "inout"). That didn't wind up affecting my ranking, though, since "inoff" still sounds better to me than "imoff," "iloff" and (ugh!) "iroff."

1-5, 8: u
6,7,9: i

1urnlm 2ulrmn 3murln 4unmrl 5lurnm 6rulnm 7unmlr 8unlrm 9mnurl 10unmrl

English, French, No, Easy but boring, Yeah all the questions were stupid, I know exactly how and why, Ok.

wolram
Gold Member
1 u, 2 u, 3 u, 4 u, 5 u, 6 i, 7 u, 8 u, 9 u, 10 i .

1 u,m,l,n,r
2 u,l,n,m,r
3 m,u,n,r,l
4 r,u,n,m,l
5 u,l,n,m,r
6 u,r,m,n,l
7 u,m,l,r,n
8 n,m,u,r,l
9 m,u,n,r,l
10 u,n,m,r,l

English only.

Some words in the EL look wrong to me any way, ie ,"once", "pnumatic", so
i am not a good judge.

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ilbias results ;)

Section A
1u, 2i, 3i, 4u, 5u, 6u, 7u, 8u, 9i, 10i

Section B
1.unlmr
2.unlmr
3.mulnr
4.ulnmr
5.lunmr
6.urlnm
7.unmlr
8.nmrlu
9.mlunr
10.unlmr

Native language English (NOT American English!).
I found that rather hard but that may be due to my dyslexia.
I dont speak any other languages as ive always struggled trying to learn them.

1u 2i 3i 4u 5i 6u 7i 8i 9u 10u
1umnlr 2ulmnr 3munlr 4ulmnr 5lunmr 6rumnl 7unmlr 8umnlr 9mulnr 10umnlr
Native: English
Other: A litte German

Gold Member
For easier comparison.
A: 2-mobilized 3-possible 4-legal 5-relevant 6-offensive 7-mature 8-regular 9-legitimate 10-partial
$$\begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline \mbox{number}&2&3&4&5&6&7&8&9&10 \\ \hline \mbox{norm pref}&m&m^{p}&l&r&-&m&r&l&m^{p} \\ \hline \mbox{\underline{n}ot/\underline{o}wn}&o&n&n&n&-&n&o&o&o \\ \hline \mbox{HRW}&i&i&u&u&u&i&u&i&i \\ \hline \mbox{zooby}&u&u&u&u&i&u&u&u&u \\ \hline \mbox{Gokul}&u&u&u&u&i&u&u&u&u \\ \hline \mbox{brewnog}&u&u&u&u&u&u&u&u&u \\ \hline \mbox{hypnagogue}&u&i&u&u&i&i&u&i&i \\ \hline \mbox{Smurf}&u&u&u&u&i&i&u&i&? \\ \hline \mbox{wolram}&u&u&u&u&i&u&u&u&i \\ \hline \mbox{zanazzi}&i&i&u&u&u&u&u&i&i \\ \hline \mbox{The Bob}&i&i&u&i&u&i&i&u&u \\ \hline \end{array}$$

B: 1-young 2-fit 3-mature 4-late 5-legal 6-relevant 7-false 8-off 9-possible 10-open
Note that five of these form old words with a prefix, so look for whether their usual prefix is most acceptable: 2-u 3-m 5-l 6-r 9-m

1unlrm 2ulnmr 3mnulr 4ulnmr 5lunrm 6runlm 7unmlr 8ulnmr 9munlr 10unlmr - HRW
1urnlm 2ulrmn 3murln 4unmrl 5lurnm 6rulnm 7unmlr 8unlrm 9mnurl 10unmrl - zooby
1unmrl 2unmrl 3munrl 4ulnmr 5lunmr 6runml 7unmrl 8unmrl 9munrl 10unmrl - Gokul
1unmlr 2unmlr 3munlr 4unlmr 5lunmr 6runml 7unmlr 8unrlm 9munlr 10unmlr - brewnog
1unmrl 2ulnmr 3munlr 4lunmr 5lunmr 6runlm 7unmlr 8unmrl 9munrl 10unmrl - hypnagogue
1urnlm 2ulrmn 3murln 4unmrl 5lurnm 6rulnm 7unmlr 8unlrm 9mnurl 10unmrl - Smurf
1umlnr 2ulnmr 3munrl 4runml 5ulnmr 6urmnl 7umlrn 8nmurl 9munrl 10unmrl - wolram
1unlmr 2unlmr 3mulnr 4ulnmr 5lunmr 6urlnm 7unmlr 8nmrlu 9mlunr 10unlmr - zanazzi
1umnlr 2ulmnr 3munlr 4ulmnr 5lunmr 6rumnl 7unmlr 8umnlr 9mulnr 10umnlr - The Bob

(The color is just for easier reading.)

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honestrosewater said:
For easier comparison.
A: 2-mobilized 3-possible 4-legal 5-relevant 6-offensive 7-mature 8-regular 9-legitimate 10-partial
$$\begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|c|} \hline \mbox{number}&2&3&4&5&6&7&8&9&10 \\ \hline \mbox{norm pref}&m&m^{p}&l&r&-&m&r&l&m^{p} \\ \hline \mbox{\underline{n}ot/\underline{o}wn}&o&n&n&n&-&n&o&o&o \\ \hline \mbox{HRW}&i&i&u&u&u&i&u&i&i \\ \hline \mbox{zooby}&u&u&u&u&i&u&u&u&u \\ \hline \mbox{Gokul}&u&u&u&u&i&u&u&u&u \\ \hline \mbox{brewnog}&u&u&u&u&u&u&u&u&u \\ \hline \mbox{hypnagogue}&u&i&u&u&i&i&u&i&i \\ \hline \mbox{Smurf}&u&u&u&u&i&i&u&i&? \\ \hline \mbox{wolram}&u&u&u&u&i&u&u&u&i \\ \hline \mbox{zanazzi}&i&i&u&u&u&u&u&i&i \\ \hline \mbox{The Bob}&i&i&u&i&u&i&i&u&u \\ \hline \end{array}$$

B: 1-young 2-fit 3-mature 4-late 5-legal 6-relevant 7-false 8-off 9-possible 10-open
Note that five of these form old words with a prefix, so look for whether their usual prefix is most acceptable: 2-u 3-m 5-l 6-r 9-m

1unlrm 2ulnmr 3mnulr 4ulnmr 5lunrm 6runlm 7unmlr 8ulnmr 9munlr 10unlmr - HRW
1urnlm 2ulrmn 3murln 4unmrl 5lurnm 6rulnm 7unmlr 8unlrm 9mnurl 10unmrl - zooby
1unmrl 2unmrl 3munrl 4ulnmr 5lunmr 6runml 7unmrl 8unmrl 9munrl 10unmrl - Gokul
1unmlr 2unmlr 3munlr 4unlmr 5lunmr 6runml 7unmlr 8unrlm 9munlr 10unmlr - brewnog
1unmrl 2ulnmr 3munlr 4lunmr 5lunmr 6runlm 7unmlr 8unmrl 9munrl 10unmrl - hypnagogue
1urnlm 2ulrmn 3murln 4unmrl 5lurnm 6rulnm 7unmlr 8unlrm 9mnurl 10unmrl - Smurf
1umlnr 2ulnmr 3munrl 4runml 5ulnmr 6urmnl 7umlrn 8nmurl 9munrl 10unmrl - wolram
1unlmr 2unlmr 3mulnr 4ulnmr 5lunmr 6urlnm 7unmlr 8nmrlu 9mlunr 10unlmr - zanazzi
1umnlr 2ulmnr 3munlr 4ulmnr 5lunmr 6rumnl 7unmlr 8umnlr 9mulnr 10umnlr - The Bob

(The color is just for easier reading.)

These results worry me a little ! HRW we have VERY similar results!

[edit: ok now on closer inspection maybe thats not that unusual! most of us gave a close responce in the second part!]

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wolram
Gold Member
1. imyoung unyoung ilyoung iryoung inyoung
2. ilfit infit irfit unfit imfit
3. irmature immature inmature ilmature unmature
4. unlate illate irlate inlate imlate
5. irlegal imlegal inlegal unlegal illegal
6. inrelevant ilrelevant irrelevant unrelevant imrelevant
7. imfalse unfalse ilfalse irfalse infalse
8. unoff iloff iroff inoff imoff
9. ilpossible inpossible impossible unpossible irpossible
10. inopen iropen ilopen unopen imopen

2 infit, sounds technical, but easily understood
5 irrelevant, is the only," ir", that makes sense to me
8 inoff, in off, is a snooker term, so that sounds right

Gold Member
zanazzi78 said:
These results worry me a little ! HRW we have VERY similar results!
You must have copied me.
[edit: ok now on closer inspection maybe thats not that unusual! most of us gave a close responce in the second part!]
Yes, I notice people tend to find un- and the familiar words most acceptable.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
honestrosewater said:
Part A Directions: Of the two options listed in each question, which one do you prefer? Allow yourself 5-15 seconds per question to decide.
Example. unmoral inmoral
If you prefer un-, record a u; If you prefer in-, record an i. Do not record the example. Do not skip ahead. It would be easier to compare if everyone recorded their answers in the same way, like this: 1i 2u 3i 4u 5u 6i 7i ...

1. unrational inrational
2. inmobilized unmobilized
3. unpossible inpossible
4. inlegal unlegal
5. unrelevant inrelevant
6. inoffensive unoffensive
7. unmature inmature
8. inregular unregular
9. unlegitimate inlegitimate
10. inpartial unpartial

1u, 2i, 3i, 4u, 5u, 6u, 7u, 8u, 9u, 10u

Part B Directions: For each question, consider how acceptable each option is to you. Order the five options according to their acceptability, from most acceptable to least acceptable. Allow yourself 10-30 seconds per question to decide.
Example. inpretty impretty ilpretty irpretty unpretty
Record an n for in-; m for im-; l for il-; r for ir-; u for un-. Do not record the example. Again, like this: 1nrlmu 2murnl 3unmlr ...

1. imyoung unyoung ilyoung iryoung inyoung
2. ilfit infit irfit unfit imfit
3. irmature immature inmature ilmature unmature
4. unlate illate irlate inlate imlate
5. irlegal imlegal inlegal unlegal illegal
6. inrelevant ilrelevant irrelevant unrelevant imrelevant
7. imfalse unfalse ilfalse irfalse infalse
8. unoff iloff iroff inoff imoff
9. ilpossible inpossible impossible unpossible irpossible
10. inopen iropen ilopen unopen imopen
1unmlr 2unlmr 3munlr 4unlmr 5lunmr 6runml 7unmlr (I prefer "true" ) 8umlnr 9munlr 10unlrm

What is your native language? What other languages do you speak, if any? Have you read further into this thread?
Native language is English, I speak Spanish very badly, took 4 years of lessons in Latin, but that's not really a spoken language nowadays, and know a smattering of words in German, Dutch, and French (ice cream flavors especially). Have not read further into the thread yet.

____
So what did you think - easy, difficult? Did you notice any patterns? Have any guesses about how or why you came to any of your decisions? I'll post how and why I made up the survey in a little while.
Except for the words that already exist in English that showed up as choices, I think I mostly chose "un-" as a prefix because that's usually the default prefix to say "not." Among the other choices, I'm not sure I had any real preferences (I put them in order as asked, but didn't really feel strongly about that order because none of them sounded right).

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
honestrosewater said:
The words synonymous with not [blank], the 'not' words: impossible, illegal, irrelevant, immature.
The words that have their own meaning beyond not [blank], the 'own' words: immobilized, irregular, illegitimate, impartial.
I don't see the distinction you're making here. I don't know of any additional meaning to the second list other than "not (blank)."

Having read through the explanation and responses, when in doubt about choice of prefix, I would choose "un-" to negate a term. There are cases where pronunciation of an "n" in front of the following consonant is troublesome, and then I'd choose a different prefix, but when presented with the choices of only "un-" or "in-", neither resolves that problem of pronunciation, so in part A, I wound up choosing "in-" in a few cases because at least the vowel sound "i" was more similar to the actual word familiar to me, I think because the "i" as the starting sound allows me to more easily use ellision to soften the "n" sound and skip straight to the consonant starting the root word. When I pronounce "un-", the sound of the "n" is very defined, and when I pronounce "in-", I don't enunciate the "n" much at all (so "imprecise" and "inprecise" both sound nearly the same in my pronunciation...someone who is a non-native speaker would have trouble understanding what word I just said, but saying "unprecise" would require a distinct pause between "un-" and "precise" for me to fully enunciate the "n" and switch to the "p"). Of those who have responded so far, you probably can sort fairly easily between British and American English speakers. I think you should try breaking down the responses between the two (and other English dialects...Australian, other country); I don't know if they will turn out different, but it's possible since I notice at least some British dialects very distinctly enunciate every single consonant in a word, whereas American dialects tend to be more sloppy about consonants and vary more in the pronunciation of vowels.

Gokul43201 said:
I have to say some of Zoob's choices surprise me.
I'm not sure what surprised you and why, but my main reason for doing the survey was to kick it off after I saw that the first respondent had balked at supposed implications. I'd opened the thread out of curiosity, and had, in fact, read ahead, but said I hadn't since there was no data to corrupt my answers present at the time I read ahead: I was the first person to respond as requested.

Moonbear wrote a very enlightening post last year about people's reasons for responding to surveys, and how these reasons affect how contemplitavely they respond: it can be so bad that people check choices off at random without even reading them. To the extent I wasn't really putting much effort into deciding if I prefered an il- to an ir-, but going by quick, knee-jerk reactions to get through it as quickly as possible, I can't say that my responses are as finely tuned as HRW might be hoping for. My main motivation was to post a response as requested to indicate a lack of suspicion about HRWs motives and get the survey over that hurdle.

Additionally, my response may be corrupted for the following reason: I claimed, by omission, to speak no foreign languages. In fact, though, I've studied French, German, Spanish, and Russian at the college level without being expert enough in any of them to say I "speak" them. Would the level of exposure to them I have had affect my "sense" of English prefixes? Of course. Of course not. Maybe. I don't know.

BobG
Homework Helper
A
1-u
2-u
3-u
4-u
5-u
6-i
7-u
8-u
9-u
10-u

B
1 un, il, ir, im, in
2 un, il, in, ir, im
3 im, un, il, ir, in
4 un, il, ir, in, im
5 il, un, ir, in, im
6 ir, un, il, in, im
7 un, il, ir, in, im
8 un, in, il, ir, im
9 im, un, il, ir, in
10 un, ir, il, in, im

Native language - English. Illiterate in any other language, although I have taken some Spanish, Italian, and Russian. No, I haven't read further into the thread.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus