Build your vocabulary with fanfic

No sooner do I post about learning new words from fanfic than I learn a new one. From demented Batman/Robocop shipper ComicsNix, no less.

ComicsNix's artistically mangled English might be the work of a Portuguese speaker who writes in English so he can troll a larger audience. This is a guy who misspells "birthday" and "party" in the very first sentence of one of his fics, and then goes on to correctly spell a word so rare I had to look it up.

"No Womder Wonean" cried Batan with sad periculous face at the amazonian godesses "we canna't fuck in a special day like this. Do you remember we are postponing our nuptional night till our marriage day?"

Periculous is a real word - it means "dangerous" and comes from the Latin "perīculōsus", meaning "dangerous", which in turn comes from "perīculum", "risk". If the Portuguese ComicsNix hypothesis is true, he might not have realized how rare it is in English because it's so similar to the Portuguese word for danger, "perigo".

"Nuptional" is just a misspelling of "nuptial", though. And "nuptial" means "related to weddings", so Batman's telling Wonder Woman "We're postponing our wedding night for our wedding day." Like I said, ComicsNix is an artist.

(Those of you who took Spanish might wonder whether the r and the l in the Latin "perīculum" switched places to produce the modern Spanish "peligro". They didn't. Ultan (1978)1 shows how apparent long-distance metathesis in modern Spanish is the result of a regressive liquid assimilation rule, extended by analogy to phonologically similar words. Trust me on this one.)

1. Ultan, R. (1978) A Typological View of Metathesis. In J. Greenberg (ed.), Universals of Human Language vol. 2. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 368-399. (back to article)

Written on May 14, 2016