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|English to English translations [PRO]|
|English term or phrase: physiologic or physiological?|
|biologic or biological, bacteriologic or bacteriological|
I was a scientist for 35 years in the UK and as now as a translator I come across words or terms that don't sound English (UK , that is) to me. Are these US equivalents?
Let me first note that –ic comes from the very common Greek suffix –ikos. There is no –ical in Greek. The extra –al seems to have its origin in late Latin.
The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1996), a British publication, has this to say about physiologic(al):
physiology. The corresponding adjective is physiological rather than physiologic in British English, but the shorter form is also used in American English.
However, from the same book, here is the entire article on –ic and –ical. I found it very interesting and illuminating:
-ic(al) (adjectival suffix). This article attempts to assess in practical terms how complex the distribution is of adjectival forms ending in -ic and those ending in -ical. Since the mathematical unattractiveness of analysing the relevant evidence in large computerized corpora is self-evident --the number of adjs. ending in -ic and -ical is very large-- I have searched my personal database instead and correlated the evidence with that presented in the COD (1990).
First, it should be borne in mind that we daily encounter many nouns (including proper names) and adjs. that happen to end in -ic but are not relevant to this article, e.g. chic, Eric, logic, music, republic, topic, traffic.
Secondly, it would appear that a little more than half of the adjectives that fall within the sphere of this article always and only end in -ic. Thus COD lists alcoholic but not alcoholical, basic but not basical, dramatic but not dramatical, patriotic but not patriotical, plastic but not plastical, and so on.
Thirdly, it would seem that about a quarter of all the relevant formations always and only end in -ical. Thus chemical but not chemic, farcical but not farcic, practical but not practic, radical but not radic, and so on.
Fourthly, just on a fifth of all such words may end either with -ic or with -ical, sometimes with a difference of meaning (e.g. classic/classical, economic/economical, historic/historical) and sometimes with no discernible difference.
Fifthly, for those pairs where there appears to be no difference of sense, I have formed a broad impression that the -ic forms are favoured in AmE and -ical ones in BrE; but the distribution is erratic, and is much influenced by the practice of particular publishing houses. Thus in American academic works the shorter forms geographic, geologic, immunologic, lexicographic, and pedagogic are more likely to occur than the longer forms geographical, etc., whereas in British publications the reverse is the case. On the other hand for many ordinary pairs, e.g. comic/comical, ironic/ironical, problematic/problematical, symmetric/symmetrical, the distribution is not governed by geography but by idiomatic rhythmical considerations in a given context.
Sixthly, it is a curiosity that all the above pairs of words have –ically as their adverbial equivalents, not -ly. The main exceptions are that public (which has no corresponding adj. form in –ical) has only publicly as the corresponding adverb; and there is no form politicly.
Selected response from:
Local time: 10:22
|Thank you, Santo, for your "in depth" explanation. Many thanks to all who contributed. I wanted to post this as a linguistic topic but was moved to here by a moderator. It was my original impression that the -ic form was favoured by US English (as well as those translators who were taught American English as their second language). I will make a copy of your answer, to send to the next agency or client (and this has happened several times) who disagrees with me on my use of -ical.|
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
12 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +5
American Heritage lists both, but biologicAL/physiologicAL sounds more natural to me (US)
phys·i·o·log·i·cal (f¹z”¶-…-l¼j“¹-k…l) also phys·i·o·log·ic (-¹k) --adj. Abbr. phys., physiol. 1. Of or relating to physiology. 2. Being in accord with or characteristic of the normal functioning of a living organism. 3. Color. Of or being an additive primary color. --phys”i·o·log“i·cal·ly adv.
bi·o·log·i·cal (bº”…-l¼j“¹-k…l) also bi·o·log·ic (-l¼j“¹k) --adj. Abbr. biol. 1. Of, relating to, caused by, or affecting life or living organisms. 2. Having to do with biology. 3. Related by blood: the child's biological parents; his biological sister. --n. A preparation, such as a drug, a vaccine, or an antitoxin, that is synthesized from living organisms or their products and used medically as a diagnostic, preventive, or therapeutic agent. --bi”o·log“i·cal·ly adv.
Note added at 14 mins (2005-05-21 16:55:52 GMT)
bac·te·ri·ol·o·gy n. Abbr. bacteriol. The study of bacteria, especially in relation to medicine and agriculture. --bac·te”ri·o·log“ic or bac·te”ri·o·log“i·cal adj. --bac·te”ri·o·log“i·cal·ly adv. --bac·te”ri·ol“o·gist n.
Same thing here. Sorry for the encoding issues.