This seems to be a strange subject to blog about by a person for whom English is their first and really only usable language and also someone who most commonly writes about the depravities and ultimate end of the English speaking peoples and indeed the whole world of mankind. A person who is also, and frequently, a stickler for correct language even though he was brought up in a relatively poor, working class, English family whose predecessors were mainly farm labourers and gardeners, turning to fitters and turners in the more recent generations of industrialisation of the population. He, being me of course, was also the privileged recipient, as one of the last cohort of youngsters who received a free, single-gender ‘Grammar School’ education, only a few years before two tier education gave way to all-grades, all-sexes, ‘Comprehensive’ schooling – slowly degrading into the bare ‘curriculum’ which produces the barely literate hordes of easily led, low-expectation, low-esteem, leaner-prospective, ‘consumer units’ of today.
And this is all due to the bastardisation of the English language to now be the misshapen, distorted, abortion (that word used in its current colloquial manner), that it is today. With even its defining rule books, the English Dictionaries and Thesauri now manipulated to follow in the degraded footsteps of the language.
This cannot go on. It is – bringing me back to my usual subject matter – a mark of the degeneration of humankind (or at least the English speaking component of that group of hominids), leading shortly to the point where we produce beings who communicate only by incomprehensible, monosyllabic, gutteral, utterings and are useful only for eating, shitting and fornicating, if nature doesn’t soon reject the whole human experiment by making of the world an unlivable environment, thus drawing the curtain on the activities and presence of our whole species.
So, what brought on this particular efflux of barbed invective today?
Well, it is as simple as the fact that I wanted to use the word ‘succede’ in something I was writing. A word I am certain is valid English. But the typed word received the, for me, frequent ‘red-underline’ treatment of online word editors – the self-styled arbiters of ‘correct’ language. Being time-pressed, I substituted, with bubbling resentment, for the word ‘supercede’ (a modern English abortion with the same or similar meaning), and carried on to finish what I was doing.
“Bugger that!” I thought, some time later, “I’m not going to let this pass without having my say on the matter”. So, here I am, having my say.
Why cannot I legitimately use the word ‘succede’, even though it is no longer in the dictionary? Actually, it is in a rare few of those, with the explanation that it is a dated form of ‘succeed’. Well, “bugger that again!”, ‘succeed’ is just another modern English abortion that has surreptitiously crept into the language over time, as have many other words containing the letters ‘ceed’.
There is no such word as ‘ceed’ to be found in the English language. There never was. So, attaching prefixes or suffixes to it is simply meaningless. But lurking somewhere in almost every English dictionary is the word ‘cede’ – which is the root of many English words such as ‘accede’, ‘precede’, you can immediately think of others I’m sure. That list of words should also include all words which contain the non-word ‘ceed’. The problem with language is, of course, that all speakers of that language get to use it as their primary means of communication. All people that is, no matter what their educational status, ranging from the meticulous to the ignorant and all shades in between. And so the basic language gets corrupted over time, because their are always more ignorant people than people who know and follow the rules. Until, today, we have the utterly untenable situation where every year new words are added to the language and are given false recognition as such by dictionary entries when they are mostly street slang with no traceable etymology or derivation. To me, that sucks. Mostly because ‘old’ words, useful words, meaningful words, words that are traceable to a particular etymological source – usually in an older different language, are thrown on the trash heap of time, ejected from contemporary dictionaries, simply due to the fact that the ignoramuses of the latest generation of speakers neither ever get to learn of the word or how to pronounce or spell it properly. This is of course somewhat inevitable and is a sure marker that a civilisation has reached and passed its peak of usefulness and is on the road to collapse and ruin. That at least is a thought that brightens my day.
Back to the genuine word ‘cede’. It carries the meaning of ‘yielding’, which I think is perhaps the best single descriptive word for it, though there is also included in the meaning the action (it is a verb) of ‘handing over’ or a ‘going away’ or ‘giving up’. It implies the loss of something – usually rights of some unspecified type. It’s etymology is from several languages – expressed here: https://www.etymonline.com/word/cede – a useful site for such purposes.
Along with the genuine word ‘cede’ there are other words derived from it to be found in dictionaries. I mentioned a couple earlier. But the word I wanted to use – ‘succede’ – which is ‘cede’ (yielding) prefixed by ‘suc’ (meaning ‘below’ or ‘inferior’) is rarely covered. So, to succede is to give way (yield) to someone/something currently inferior or beneath – as in handing power over to the next in a hereditary line or for example the fact that July succedes June in the western calendar.
A very useful site for prefixes/suffixes used in English (it’s Russian, who’da thunk it?) can be found here: https://usefulenglish.ru/writing/prefixes-meanings-examples
The fact that the last example does not look right and probably offended some sensibilities is because I would have been expected to say ‘July succeeds June’. The fact that would be linguistically meaningless would not occur to many people. But there it is, and I expect there it will stay. Until the end of time. Or until ‘time’ is called on the western civilisation and a brand new one (perhaps, though nothing other than civilisational collapse is guaranteed) begins – with very little basis for a meaningful etymology as foundational to its own language. You will never again see anyone say ‘July succedes June.’ Except perhaps me.
I was going to go on from here (but it is now approaching 2am for me and I am just happy to get this finished before the internal bubbling dissipates) with an explanation of the fact that ‘abortion’ (used in the title) is such an abused and misused word (though in this instance it is actually a genuine word) for exactly the same reasons. I will just end with saying abortion has nothing to do with, nothing directly attributable to, what you and most people think it means.