What causes people to write compound words as distinct words?
In many Germanic and Finno-ugric languages there are many compound words. One does not write "yhdys sana", but rather "yhdyssana". Learning to write these correctly is notoriously hard for people, at least in Finland and Norway; there are mistakes everywhere, even in the simple and systematic cases, like compound words created from two nouns with nothing fancy happening.
Often it is the influence of English that gets the blame. However, I vaguely recall reading arguments to the contrary, probably based on chronology; the problems were present before English was as dominating as it is today.
What causes people to write compound words as distinct words? Is it the influence of English or is there some other significant cause, too?
This is a known phenomenon also in Swedish where it is called särskrivning ("writing apart"). The wikipedia article Särskrivning (Swedish, no English translation available) with sources claims that indeed the influence from English is to blame. The article also quotes a Dutch similar term Engelse ziekte ("English Disease", see the corresponding Dutch wikipedia article), suggesting that this is also a problem in Dutch and likely in all of the Germanic languages.
The article also claims that in more recent times, wrong auto-correcting features from MS Word and similar are also to blame. But it also quotes Swedish examples from the 1700-1800s when influence from English was non-existent (but influence from French was significant). Although these examples predate a formalised grammar, which in Sweden didn't happen until the 19th century. So apparently in older times, there was no defined way of writing such words together or apart.
The wikipedia article also has an interesting remark about cursive writing, which was still taught in Swedish schools as late as the 1990s. A newer, more modern form of cursive writing was introduced during the 1970s with words and letters more apart, which could in turn indirectly lead to "writing apart" mistakes becoming more common.
Personally I don't think any particular influence is to blame - the cause is simply poor grammar knowledge of your own native language in general. Just the other day I were proofreading something with "writing apart" all over it and the person who wrote in barely knows English at all. To say that they did so because they were influenced by English would be ridiculous. They were simply illiterate in general. There is naturally a direct relation between poor grammar and people reading less books/articles in their native language.
Similarly, people who speak a Germanic language often have problems writing English words together, when they shouldn't be. Just as I'm writing this very text, the English spell checker told me to change from "autocorrecting" to "auto-correcting".
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|Keelan||(no comment)||Feb 14, 2023 at 10:29|
Thread: Citations Needed
This smells like an AI generated answer...?
|Feb 15, 2023 at 12:04|
Compound words are notoriously difficult for people to write correctly, even in the simpler and more systematic cases involving two nouns. While the influence of English is often blamed for this problem, it is important to note that the difficulties with writing compound words correctly have been present even before English became as dominant as it is today.
The primary cause of people writing compound words as distinct words rather than as one cohesive unit is due to their difficulty in processing and recognizing the linguistic elements of the words. A compound word is made up of two or more lexical elements that are combined to form a single word with a new meaning. For example, the English word “doghouse” is composed of two lexical elements, “dog” and “house”, to form a single word with the meaning “a shelter for a dog”.
The difficulty lies in understanding the linguistic elements of each word that make up the compound word and recognizing the new meaning that is created when the words are combined. This problem is especially prominent in languages such as Finnish and Norwegian, where compound words are often longer and more complex than those in English or other languages. It is also exacerbated by the fact that compound words can be written in a variety of ways, making it difficult for people to know which way is correct.
Finally, the difficulty of recognizing and understanding compound words is further compounded by the influence of English, as people often try to mimic the way English compound words are written, without understanding the rules of their own language.
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