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physiologic or physiological?

English translation: Often -ic forms are favoured in AmE and -ical ones in BrE

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:physiologic or physiological?
English translation:Often -ic forms are favoured in AmE and -ical ones in BrE
Entered by: Nick Lingris
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16:41 May 21, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Linguistics
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?
David Brown
Spain
Local time: 11:22
in depth
Explanation:
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:

Nick Lingris
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:22
Grading comment
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

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Summary of answers provided
4 +13in depth
Nick Lingris
4 +5American Heritage lists both, but biologicAL/physiologicAL sounds more natural to me (US)Robert Donahue
3 +4physiologic or physiological?
Tony M


Discussion entries: 7





  

Answers


12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
American Heritage lists both, but biologicAL/physiologicAL sounds more natural to me (US)


Explanation:
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.

Robert Donahue
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxgtreyger
22 mins
  -> Thanks Gennadiy

agree  jennifer newsome
53 mins
  -> Thanks trickilyclever

agree  Will Matter: If we use the example given I believe that "physiological" is more correct. The "-al" ending shows that it modifies "processes". "Physiological processes" sounds natural and is correct.
1 hr
  -> Thanks Will

agree  juvera
8 hrs
  -> Thanks Juvera

agree  Rina LS
12 hrs
  -> Thanks Rina
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
physiologic or physiological?


Explanation:
I don't know about your other 2 terms, but I DO know that there is a difference in meaning between these 2 terms. I don't know enough science to be able to define the difference for your precisely, but as far as I am aware, we do speak of 'a physiologic dose' of something, which I think means a dose that is of the same order of magnitude as that amount (of the substance) found in normal physiology; this could be a term specifically used in homeopathy?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2005-05-21 16:54:55 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Well, it appears I am wrong! OED gives \'physiologic\' as equivalent to \'physiological\', first found around mid-17th century.

It also speaks of \'physiological saline\' = saline solution with same concentration of salt as in normal blood.

So I guess that blows my idea to pieces!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 33 mins (2005-05-21 17:14:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

OED does the same, both biologic and bacterilogic are listed as mid-19th century (the same as the versions in -al).

I suspect it is pseudo-scientific pretentiousness or just plain carelessness...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 34 mins (2005-05-21 17:15:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry, that should have read \"bacteriologic/-al LATE 19th century\"



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 41 mins (2005-05-21 17:22:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

physiologic dose got 800+ hits, 5 when restricted to .UK domain
physiological dose got 7000+, 36 when restricted to .UK domain

So my conclusion would be that there is nothing specifically / clearly US / UK about this issue, and of the hits I delved into, the usages seemed (as far as I am qualified to tell) to be entirely interchangeable.

Tony M
France
Local time: 11:22
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Robert Donahue: I don't think there's a difference in the definitions of the words. I imagine it's just a matter of choice here. Would you agree?
27 mins
  -> Thanks, Robert! Certainly seems to be the case, indeed

agree  Will Matter: I think that both are in use, they mean essentially the same thing but i'm very slightly in favor of "physiological". For example, "The physiological basis of X is..." Sometimes the "acid test" for isolated words is to try and use them in a sentence.
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Willmatter! Yes, I entirely agree, I too prefer the -al versions; I'd previously only come across the specific term 'physiologic dose', which is why I had initially thought it was intended to have a different meaning

agree  jennifer newsome
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, T/C!

agree  Rina LS
12 hrs
  -> Thanks, Rina!
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +13
in depth


Explanation:
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.


Nick Lingris
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:22
Native speaker of: Native in GreekGreek
PRO pts in category: 52
Grading comment
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.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Nice one, Nick!
2 hrs
  -> Glad you enjoyed it, Dusty!

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou: Go Greece!!!//Special thanks to Dusty who was your No.1 here. And many, many thanks to Marju who is such a great friend. You know, her daughter had been studying in Thessaloniki till last year.
3 hrs
  -> My Number One!

agree  Balasubramaniam L.: Illuminative!
6 hrs
  -> Thank you, my friend.

agree  Will Matter: Very nice, informative & interesting answer! It's always good when one ProZian or another adds something to the answer that teaches us all something. Etymology is a very important part of linguistics as we know it.
7 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Rina LS: This was an inspirational explanation. Thanks.
9 hrs
  -> OK, I'll work less on the "subito" and more on the "in depth" in future.

agree  Robert Donahue: Quite nice yet again. :-)
9 hrs
  -> Thanks, Robert. Winning points over you and Dusty must be the ultimate ProZ accolade!

agree  Lesley Clayton: very informative
10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Lesley.

agree  RHELLER: very enlightening :-)
10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Rita.

agree  Jörgen Slet
11 hrs
  -> Thank you, thank you.

agree  xxxAlfa Trans: Kai polla singharitiria apo tin Finlandia! I Ellada ine proti!
11 hrs
  -> Fantastic, isn't it?

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
12 hrs
  -> Thank you, Saleh.

agree  David Moore: Brilliant!
14 hrs
  -> Thanks, David!

agree  Patrick Weill: Thank you!
4161 days
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