escape-escapee-escaper

taked4700

Senior Member
japanese japan
Hi,
I'm wondering why "escaper" is not used.

Employ-employer-employee would be the prototype of word formation.

If so, why don't you use refuger or escaper instead of refugee orescapee.

I guess that in English you always see some power that exceeds humans, that makes you take escape or refuge.

I'd like to have your comments.
Thanks in advance.
 
  • Platytude

    Senior Member
    English - AU
    -ee was originally é(e), the French equivalent of -ed (both in meaning and ultimate origin, not -er) at the end of English verb to mark their past participle. Apart from some borrowed words from French, this suffix is sometimes used creatively to form new object nouns in English but it's uncommon.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't really see what point you are trying to make with your examples, which seem to have very little in common.

    There are two people involved in the act of employment, and as is common in such situations, the two people are given "-er" and "-ee" suffixes.

    With "escape", there is only one person, and so only one suffix is needed, and English has largely settled on "-ee", although you will also find "-er" being used with the same meaning.

    "Refuge" is rare as a verb in modern English ("To provide a refuge, shelter, or retreat for (a person); to shelter, protect." - OED), and if "refuger" was ever used for the person offering shelter, it has dropped out of use (it is not mentioned in OED). "Refugee" for the person given refuge is used, of course, and its use has widened to include people seeking refuge, not just those who have been provided with refuge. This sort of change in usage is common.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Thank you, Platitudes.
    "Ee" is used to mean "ed", which I think would suggests that words with "ee" would or could mean passive, not active.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    I don't really see what point you are trying to make with your examples, which seem to have very little in common.

    There are two people involved in the act of employment, and as is common in such situations, the two people are given "-er" and "-ee" suffixes.

    With "escape", there is only one person, and so only one suffix is needed, and English has largely settled on "-ee", although you will also find "-er" being used with the same meaning.

    "Refuge" is rare as a verb in modern English ("To provide a refuge, shelter, or retreat for (a person); to shelter, protect." - OED), and if "refuger" was ever used for the person offering shelter, it has dropped out of use (it is not mentioned in OED). "Refugee" for the person given refuge is used, of course, and its use has widened to include people seeking refuge, not just those who have been provided with refuge. This sort of change in usage is common.

    Thank you, Uncle Jack.

    I came across a really interesting link
    World Wide Words: Ee

    It says:
    Ee
    There seems to be something irresistibly droll about words in –ee which leads journalists and other writers to constantly create new ones. Perhaps it is the belittling or diminutive sense that makes it seem funny (by analogy with such words as “bootee” or “townee”, using another sense of the –ee suffix) or perhaps it is the mouse-like squeak of the ending that attracts. Whatever the cause, dozens of such words are generated each year, most of them destined to be used once and never seen again. Here are some examples, mainly extracted from the British newspapers The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday over the past couple of years:

    arrestee, assaultee, auditee, auditionee, awardee, biographee, callee, contactee, contractee, counsellee, dedicatee, defrostee, detachee, electee, explodee, extraditee, fixee, flirtee, floggee, forgee, hittee, interactee, introducee, investee, lapsee, mentee, murderee, outee, ownee, phonee, pickee, rapee, releasee, rescuee, sackee, shortlistee, slippee, spinee, staree, tagee, ticklee, trampolee.

    Most of these new words denote some person who is the passive recipient of the action concerned or is the one to whom something is done (for example, an extraditee is a person who is extradited; a murderee is the person who has been murdered). For these words the suffix is being used in the same way it was when it was first introduced in medieval times as a word-forming agent in legal English. The two suffixes –or and –ee formed a pair; the first indicating the person initiating the action, the second the one receiving it. So we have pairs like appellor and appellee, lessor and lessee, and mortgagor and mortgagee. When the suffix moved out of legal English into the wider world, it took this sense with it, so we have words like trustee (a person to whom something is entrusted), addressee (someone addressed), referee (one to whom something is referred), transportee (a person who has been transported to a distant colony as a punishment), and so on.

    The trouble came when a number of words appeared, derived from French reflexive verbs (where the subject and object are the same), in which the person concerned appears not to be the object of the activity, but the one who initiates it; an absentee is someone who absents him- or herself, not someone who is “absented” by another person; a refugee is actively seeking refuge, though that situation may have been brought about by others. These words have been used as a model for creating new ones and the result has been that we now have a number of words in which the useful distinction in the old legal terms has been lost or blurred. The example which is most often quoted is escapee, because the person who escapes is rarely a passive agent, but takes the initiative; a better word would be escaper. Similarly, attendees are people who attend meetings or conferences (also called conferees), but a strict interpretation of the suffix might suggest that in both cases those attending have had the experience inflicted upon them (often true, in my experience, but that’s not the sense meant). If the meeting is full, such people may also be standees (people who are standing because there are no seats). Likewise, a retiree is a person who has retired (though this action may in fact have been involuntary).

    An argument in favour of such words is that they have the nuance of denoting people for whom the action concerned has been completed: an escapee has actually escaped, whereas an escaper may merely be escaping; a returnee is someone who has actually returned, not just someone who is in the process of returning. But the context usually makes clear which is meant and this argument doesn’t hold for all such words.

    Terms in –ee are often unattractive as well as illogical or confusing and, because of the humorous undertones of many of them, can sometimes signal the wrong message. It would be better to be cautious about inventing, or even using, words in –ee which are not part of the standard language, and even then, as in the case of escapee, to consider whether there is a better word.

    ☆☆☆☆
    In the above paragraphs, they say that "standee" is someone who cannot find a seat so that he or she is forced to stand. In other words, I think you English speaking people see an entity that makes the person take a position of standing, an entity in this case would be the circumstances in which the person cannot find a seat.
    Likewise, I think the reason you use escapee would be an attitude of confrontation. A confrontation with mother Nature is a big factor that rules how to speak languages.
    You use "escapee" because you see some forces that make the person take action of escaping, which gives the shade of passiveness to that action.

    I guess this could explain as well as the one you gave.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I do not think you can expect consistency in any language and "logic" does not apply to word formation, of for that matter any other aspect of grammar.

    Of the words listed in post 5 I have only come across "dedicatee" which, like "devotee", is well established and does not raise any eyebrows. I doubt many of the others will find their way into the OED - though the one never knows as you cannot predict what will catch on. We do not have the context in which the words were found and so do not know if they were being used seriously or playfully. I suspect that many, even those of a liberal disposition in matters of language, will find that the examples grate a little.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Hi,
    I'm wondering why "escaper" is not used.

    Employ-employer-employee would be the prototype of word formation.

    If so, why don't you use refuger or escaper instead of refugee orescapee.

    I guess that in English you always see some power that exceeds humans, that makes you take escape or refuge.

    I'd like to have your comments.
    Thanks in advance.
    Yes, as everyone before me has said it comes from the French past participle (-ée) with is the equivalent of -ed exactly.
    An escapee is someone who "has escaped".
    A refugee is someone who "has sought refuge".
    An employee is someone who "has been employeed".

    If you look at it as someone who has received the action of an active verb you shouldn't go wrong and you can understand all the words you encounter.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    It's worth reminding the readers that English also uses native past participles of intransitive verbs actively: an escaped prisoner is a prisoner who has escaped, not one that has been escaped by someone else; other examples are a wilted flower, a fallen leaf. To quote a paper, both the past passive deverbal participle and the perfect active deverbal participle are, thus, the same resultative participle which characterises its head ‘by expressing a state that results from a previous event’. The same duality applies to -ee words as well, and they likewise can be called fundamentally resultative as opposed to passive.

    Notice how in dedicatee the logical subject is neither the grammatical subject nor the direct object of the verbal clause “One dedicates something to someone”. In this the -ee words differ from deverbal participles, which don't allow such usage.
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I don't see a huge difference there. A dedicatee is still a recipient of another person's actions. Someone who has received a dedication from another person is in a passive situation. He depends entirely on the person dedicating.
    I know there is a fundamental grammatical difference between receiving action directly or indirectly. Yet in meaning, not grammar, the employee being employed or receiving employment is in a similar position vis-à-vis the employer. So I can see the rationale behind the formation of this word.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So I can see the rationale behind the formation of this word.
    I am not sure whether any rationale comes into it as that suggests engaging in a reasoned consideration. The word follows the example of donee, assignee, lessee and like words mostly found in a legal context.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I don't see a huge difference there. A dedicatee is still a recipient of another person's actions. Someone who has received a dedication from another person is in a passive situation. He depends entirely on the person dedicating.
    I know there is a fundamental grammatical difference between receiving action directly or indirectly. Yet in meaning, not grammar, the employee being employed or receiving employment is in a similar position vis-à-vis the employer. So I can see the rationale behind the formation of this word.
    Yet one cannot use such a rationale to form a deverbal participle in reference to an indirect object, so an explained student, a spoken addressee, an assigned employee cannot describe the state of the indirect object explain to, speak to, assign to. The latter two at least can be phrased as a spoken-to addressee (try explaining this construction to your average Slavic speaker!).

    Thus, the subjective size of the difference doesn't matter when it's objectively categorical. That is to say, I don't think answering to a description of objective grammatical facts with a subjective remark is helpful to our discussion. As Hulalessar suggests above, human speech doesn't proceed from logical premises, but from binding grammar rules that are largely opaque to the speaker. These rules do rhyme with the rules of logic, but aren't identical with them.
     
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