Sunday, August 3, 2008


Naturally, I assume a blog title Dalesings is read as Dale - Sings, and that is very fine. Indeed, if I know my uncle (even a tad), when he writes, it will be singing of the heart. It's no coincidence, either, that he is a musician, so the title Dalesings is very appropriate!

Despite this, my thoughts have wandered a different and more twisted path. Dale - Sings is a natural reading, as I noted above, but I also deconstructed the title to read Dales - ings. I must explain.

I don't own an OED, unfortunately, but I have a fine dictionary, and it tells me that -ing is a suffix of nouns formed from verbs; good enough, but not quite what my brain seized upon. It also tells me that -ing is a "native English suffix meaning "one belonging to," "of the kind of," "one descended from" and sometimes having a diminutive force, formerly used in the formation of nouns: farthing; shilling; bunting; gelding; whiting."

It wasn't purely by chance that my mind wandered this way, forming a noun (a thing) from the title Dalesings. On the contrary, it was our shared, English surname, which ends with a closely related suffix -ling, "a suffix of nouns...denoting one concerned with (hireling, underling) or diminutive (princeling, duckling)."

So while Dale Sings, and I know he will, these are also Dale's Things, those things "belonging to," "of the kind of," "descended from" and "concerned with" Dale.

Erratic thoughts? Definitely, just the kind of thing that keeps my head spinning at night. Be glad you're not me.

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