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Hypertrophization Continues Apace (definitive, secretive)

In many previous posts, the march of hypertrophization in contemporary English has been instanced via examples of redundancies and pleonasms of all stripes, including ones that have become conventional and accepted like advance planning. To continue in this vein, recently your Y-H-B has repeatedly heard presenters on the BBC World Service use the words definitive instead of definite and secretive instead of secret (adj.), where the suffix {-ive} is added redundantly to unaffixed counterparts whose meanings and usage are well-established in the traditional norm.

Like all discourse strategies that have become so ubiquitous in contemporary English, hypertrophization seems to answer to a felt need for overdetermination of meaning through formal redundancy, in what seems to be a (misguided) linguistic application of the principle, “The more, the merrier!”

MICHAEL SHAPIRO

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