This week on That’s What They Say, Anne Curzan, English professor of the University of Michigan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller discuss the moving ‘n’ and infixing words.
The moving ‘n’ is usually found in words like “a whole nother.”
Curzan says “nother” is a lot older than some may think.
“You can find in English back in the 14th century in expressions like ‘no nother’ which would have meant ‘no other’,” Curzan says.
But “a whole nother” isn’t the only example of the moving ‘n’.
“For example an ‘apron’ used to be a ‘napron’,” Curzan says. “Napron is related to napkin. But if you say napron, you can reinterpret that as an napron, an apron.”
Curzan and Miller also discuss the idea of infixing with words like “fan-freaking-tastic” and “absa-freaking-lutely.”