What exactly should I've written to communicate my question in How does the prefix 'in-' in 'intonation' relate to the difference between 'tone' and 'intonation'?? My writing probably wasn't punctilious or pinpoint enough to communicate what I was trying to ask:

Because the nouns 'tone' and 'intone' differ only by the prefix 'in-', 'in-' (and not some other prefix) must have been chosen because it somehow communicates the difference(s) between ⟨tone⟩ and ⟨intone⟩. So what does 'in-' (in 'intone') communicate in ⟨intone⟩ that 'in-' can't in ⟨tone⟩?

I.e.: why was 'tone', and not 'intone', chosen to mean ⟨tone⟩? Conversely, why wasn't 'intone' chosen to mean ⟨tone⟩?


This is the only thing I can think of:

What is the difference between "tone" and "intonation"?

I can't think of a sensible question about the Latin etymology of the two words, though possibly you're curious about the Latin prefix in-, and whether it had a compositional semantic function (then I'd suggest drawing in a few more examples, e.g. flame / inflame; prison / imprison). But this could run afoul of the language-specific anti-desideratum.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .