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what is of or pertaining to "plurality"?

asked 2017-07-03 17:46:38 -0400

"pluralistic" is of or pertaining to "pluralism". But, what is of or pertaining to "plurality"? I see the word "pluralitistic" used in blog posts. But, I'm not completely sure that automatically qualifies it as an English language word. I also see "equalitistic" used in blog posts for of or pertaining to "equality". But, I'm not sure that's really a word either. Is there a pertinent rule for forming adjectives from nouns ending in "ity"? We do have "authoritative" for "authority", and "qualitative" for "quality". But, I don't find "equalitative" for "equality". And, would that give us "pluralitative" for "plurality"? I see that in in blog posts, too... but still not finding it lexicographically.

The latin "qualitat-, qualitas" comparison to "pluralitat- pluralitas" argues for "pluralitative". But, I am grasping at straws, here.

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answered 2017-07-26 04:24:14 -0400

Daniel Couto Vale gravatar image

As a descriptive linguist, I can take a set of texts and create a list of words that were used in English texts. We can then analyze these texts and find rules to determine the stem of a word and to inflect the stems we find. With these rules, we can create a list of all the stems that were used and generate all the potential words for those stems. This is the descriptive approach for creating the list of words in a language.

What we cannot do with this approach is tell which words are not part of a language's vocabulary. We can tell that a candidate word did not happen in the texts we collected so far, that it is infrequent, or that we have no reason to expect it to be a potential word.

As a prescriptive linguist, my concern would be with text production. In this case, I would compare texts that were successful in achieving the speaker's intent with texts that were not or texts that got bad scores with texts that did well in evaluation. In this case, I would be able to tell if a word is more useful for achieving the speaker's intent than another in a particular sentence or whether a word is better than another for a particular evaluation committee.

So answering your question, it is undeniable that the words you cite are used in the kinds of texts you are reading. From a descriptive perspective, these words exist and there is no way to deny it. There is no way to test whether these texts are successful and they are not scored. So there is no way to come up with a notion of good and bad for a particular intent of the speaker. So there is no scientific way to consider these words any less "existent" or "good" from descriptive and prescriptive perspectives.

Since you are concerned with them, I imagine the reason for your concern might be coming from another perspective: that of activists and politicians. That is also a valid way to look at language and I assume your concern arises from the way this word is portaying something that is essential for a democracy such as equality of rights and duties and pluralism of ideas. Are these your concerns?

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Asked: 2017-07-03 17:41:29 -0400

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Last updated: Jul 03 '17