– Mark E. Smith

We have this term in the demimonde of accessible media:

easy-reader captions
captions edited for viewers with lower reading skill

Such captions (as found on an alternate channel of Arthur) are distinguished from, for example, British captioners’ ideology that no captions should ever run faster than 140 words a minute (now finally discredited by the British themselves).

Easy-reader clearly is the term used (380 Google hits, of which I am the first), not easy-read (no hits in this sense). I can attest that, Google evidence aside, nobody says “easy-read captions.”

The structure seems to be (easy-read)er. The sense of -er here seems to be either “a person who or thing which has or is, esp. a specified attribute, form or nature” (stilted wording courtesy of Oxford Canadian) or “a thing suitable for a specified function.” The weird part is that the -er suffix seems to modify the entire phrase, not the immediately-adjacent morpheme.

The aforesaid Oxford Canadian gives other examples of different -er senses that seem to apply to the whole phrase: (four-wheel)er, (old-time)r, (fifth-grade)r. I suppose some place names fall into this category, like New Brunswicker, Prince Edward Islander. The only examples I could come up with myself are preschooler, overachiever, back-to-schooler, troublemaker (also playmaker, I suppose).

Isn’t it a bit odd that a suffix would apply to the entire foregoing phrase? How far can you take that?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2005.05.18 14:59. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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