at a poetry reading tonight, a short poet approached the mic and said 'let me just shortify this real fast.' later, the mc offered to 'shortify' the mic for a poet in a wheelchair (i believe she was in a wheelchair... my view of her was completely obstructed by a wall. It's possible she was also short.)
anyway, the interesting thing about 'shortifying' is that it forms a minimal pair with another more traditional word: 'shortening.' why didn't the poets say 'i'm going to shorten the mic'?
i have an intuition about this, but i've having trouble locating its origin. i believe it means that there is a state of 'shortness' or and when we 'shortify' we're bringing objects into accord with it. that is, the verb form actually takes what was once an attribute of people and turns it into an identity that a group of people share.
i'm reminded of my last post, and i think this applies to 'greening' as well, but that undermines my hypothesis that it's the verb form -ify-ing that creates the effect. mystery still unsolved!!
i wonder if the blogger on noncompositional, which i discovered earlier today, would have anything to say about that?