Saturday, February 2, 2013

Random-ised thoughts - Tristram Shandy, -ize and -ise verbs

This is part of an investigation I've been doing into the use and spelling of -ize suffix verbs and their spelling (-ize or -ise) in British English. For more details, related posts and the methods I've used, see the -ize / -ise page.

Engraving by George Cruikshank - image in the public domain, details at Wikipedia
There are two sets of verbs in English which have an /aɪz/ ending:
  • -ise/-ize suffix verbs - these are always spelt with a Z in the US, but everywhere else we have a choice between S and Z. Examples include: realise/realize and sympathise/sympathize. This is an open group with new verbs joining it all the time. The earlier verbs had Latin and ultimately Greek roots, but many later verbs in this group have been formed from existing English words.
  • French -ise verbs, especially based on -cise, -mise, -prize, -vise. These are always spelt with an S, both here and in the US. Examples include: advise, devise, surmise, surprise. This is a largely closed group, numbering twenty or thirty verbs
So far, two things seem to be clear to me:
  • The -ise/-ize suffix verbs were not used very much until the 18th century; Shakespeare used perhaps a dozen in all his works. On the other hand, use of the limited number of French -ise verbs was very popular. They were occasionally also spelt with a Z.
  • From very early on The -ise/-ize suffix verbs were spelt almost exclusively with a Z, but something happened at the end of the 18th century, and the S spelling suddenly became popular in Britain.
I'm particularly interested in Tristram Shandy as it seems to epitomise this new use of -ise/-ize suffix verbs I've just mentioned.

1759 Lawrence Sterne - The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Introduction

As we've seen, earlier writers don't seemed to have used -ize suffix verbs very much; But Sterne seems to have positively revelled in them, possibly inventing one or two himself. As seems quite common at this time, some French -ise verbs and their derivatives are also spelt with a Z.

Possible neologisms

None of these appear as verbs in Dr Jonson's Dictionary. Here, OED# refers to Online Etymology Dictionary (not the Oxford English Dictionary)
  • apotheosize - OED# puts this at 1760 (a year after publication), Dictionary.com 1750-1760. Dr Johnson has apotheosis
  • genteelize - OED# has nothing for the verb, genteel from the 1590s. Nothing in Dr Johnson
  • soliliquize - OED# puts this at 1759 (the year of publication). Dr Johnson has soliloquy

Method

I first found all the -ize and -ise endings I could in the Project Gutenberg HTML version, which is very easy to search. Then I checked them all in Google Books' various versions. I used the 1819 version first as it's complete, but as not everything was there, I looked at other versions as well. The yellow boxes show which edition I found them in.
You can check these out yourself by using the book selector and clicking on one of the links. It will open search results in the relevant version in Google Books in a new tab or window (IE).
There's a very attractive facsimile version in three volumes at Archive.org, but I haven't had much success with their search facility. On the other hand they also have raw text versions which are easily searchable.
Unless specified otherwise, derivations are from Online Etymology Dictionary.

Table of Verbs

F=French, OF=Old French, MF=Middle French, L=Latin, LL=Late Latin
Edition (as listed above)12345
Latin -ize verbs
philosophize 1590s3
philosophized 1590s3
solemnized late 14C1
syllogize C15: via OF, LL syllogiza-re, G sullogizesthai (Collins)2
baptizedc.1300, OF batisier (11c.), L baptizare, G baptizein 2
baptizer1
baptizes1
patronize 1580s1
subtilized - (subtile late 14c., from L.)1
civilized c.16001
uncrystalized 1590s (figurative use from 1660s - double l)1
anathematize1560s from Fr from Latin from Greek1
harmonized late 15C1
unmechanize (1670s mechanic)1
rhapsodize c.16001
soliloquized 1759 (soliloquy)1
moralize c14001
genteelized - (MF gentil 1590s)1
apotheosize 1760 (apotheosis 1600s)1
-ation
organizationmid 15C2
canonizationlate 14C1
French -ise verbs spelt with a Z
surprized3
apprized1
enterprizeS
French -ise verbs
arise, -en, es
unadvised
advise, -es
exercise, -ed
rise,-en
despised
philosophised
franchises
enfranchisement early 15C
surprise
devise, -ed
circumcised
surprised
characterised

Thomas Nashe

There used to be a bit here about Thomas Nashe, possibly the 'father' of the -ize verb. I've written a rather more complete post Nash and -ize verbs and a look at three of his works, which you can find here.

Links

Tristram Shandy

At Archive.org / The Open Library

At Google Books

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