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Q&A

Should writers shun cognate stems that share roots, because readers take longer to process these stems? [closed]

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Closed as too generic by Canina‭ on Aug 3, 2022 at 08:26

This post contains multiple questions or has many possible indistinguishable correct answers or requires extraordinary long answers.

This question was closed; new answers can no longer be added. Users with the reopen privilege may vote to reopen this question if it has been improved or closed incorrectly.

Question 1

Here I am asking about merely reading and writing. Do human readers take longer to distinguish between stems (and bases) that share the same root, even if merely picoseconds?

For example, do bookworms distinguish climb vs. descend faster than ascend vs. descend?

Question 2

What can writers learn from Question 1? How can writers prevent these processing delays by their persuers? How can writers improve bibliomaniacs' readability and reading comprehension? Does this processing delay suggest shunning stems that share a root?

Should writers shun ascend as much as possible, in favor of climb? Should writers even excise ascend from their vocabulary? Should writers prefer synonyms that don't share roots and stems — like drop, lower — over decrease?

Afterword and Context for my questions

Aviation forbids quasi-homophones and rhymes like ascend vs. descend, because these are stems that share the same root -cend from Latin scandere. Similarly, increase vs. decrease are quasi-homophones, because they share -crease from Latin crescere. But Germanic Minimal Pairs are quasi-homophonous too — like

  • farther which stems from further.
  • the participles of lay vs. lie.
  • lose vs. loose (from Proto-Germanic *lausa-).
  • than vs. then.
  • through that stems from thorough. though doesn't etymologically relate to through, thorough — but all three are confused, because they are spelled so alike.
  • to vs. too.

I am not a linguist. If I misused linguistics terms like base vs. stem vs. root, then please edit and correct my post!

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7 comment threads

x-post https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/44926/even-in-writing-do-bases-take-longer-to-... (1 comment)
x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/linguistics/comments/wdsr2d/even_in_writing_do_cognate_stems_take_lon... (1 comment)
x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/conlangs/comments/wd2vhp/even_in_writing_do_cognate_stems_take_longer... (1 comment)
Closing for now (1 comment)
You're misrepresenting the linked aviation-related answer (2 comments)
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