How did 'in-' + 'putare' compound to mean 'to attribute, credit to'?

1. The prefix, much like the preposition, can have directional as opposed to static meaning. The semantic value of in- is often not merely 'in' but 'toward [with the result that the object be in some new state]', much like 'induce' or 'indoctrinate'. This means that in- and ad- 'to' (as in 'attribute') can be virtually indistinguishable in function, and in English the two words have been hybridized in, e.g., 'He lead me into (= Latin [in + ad]) the cave.'

2. If by itself puto means 'reckon', then the prefixation of in- will denote motion from a previous state to a new one, that is 'reckon toward/unto'. Even in Old French, this word (puto) and its derivatives belong to legal jargon & the negative connotations of [fault, guilt, debt], etc. were inherited alongside them into Middle English. You may note the interesting OED entry: 'We usually ascribe good, but impute evil'.

3. 'into' or 'unto'
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
I'm just not that into you.

It's like I'm Ben Affleck & you're Jennifer Aniston.
Hate to disagree after being thumb-upped, but it doesn't look to be the same sense - it's neither verbal, nor expresses metaphorical movement; I'd say it's static-adverbial. It does remind me of the Russian verb влюби́ться в кого́-то ”to fall in love with someone”. Though this again is different from the verbal-movement-insertion-metaphor = "thinking something into something else" sense we're dealing with here.
 
Hate to disagree after being thumb-upped
Not at all! OP presumably doesn't mind his thinking (or homework) being done for him; I'm just 'spitballing', as they say. :cool:

The OED example of 'he imputes unto me certain crimes' seems to follow that general rule of reinforcing the etymological/derivative morpheme with a native one, like 'compare st with (cum) something' (even though I suppose that could rather be 'with = against/side-by-side'). Your example seems to corroborate at least that state-change is represented grammatically with the 'accusative of motion' (or whatever grammarians are keen to call it), which can hardly be unique to Russian. Unless your underlining 'with' was meant to point out that there is no 'motion' in English?

Isn't it safe to say that in + acc. or some such is the general route taken to †state-change, but that this can't be done in those languages that lack an accusative case? And that it's possible that constructions like 'impute unto' are holdovers of the old morphosyntax?

†Although I remember that Lithuanian has something like 'He became an eagle out of a man.'
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
Hmm....in modern statistical terminology, "impute" is "to estimate missing values based on other available data."
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
The OED example of 'he imputes unto me certain crimes' seems to follow that general rule of reinforcing the etymological/derivative morpheme with a native one, like 'compare st with (cum) something' (even though I suppose that could rather be 'with = against/side-by-side').
If you mean that the prefix is reinforced by the preposition, I wouldn't say that, because it's not perceived as a prefix in the first place, and because in Latin Russian etc prefixed verbs habitually govern etymologically identical prepositions (as in the same comparāre cum quō, сра́внивать с чем, влюби́ться в кого́). Some conceptual semantics are simply associated with certain prepositions and the verb could be anything: "to project unto, impute unto, assign unto", all conceived as "downwards movement". If the action is conceived differently, you have instead "to impute something to somebody" as in Latin.
Your example seems to corroborate at least that state-change is represented grammatically with the 'accusative of motion' (or whatever grammarians are keen to call it), which can hardly be unique to Russian. Unless your underlining 'with' was meant to point out that there is no 'motion' in English?

Isn't it safe to say that in + acc. or some such is the general route taken to †state-change, but that this can't be done in those languages that lack an accusative case? And that it's possible that constructions like 'impute unto' are holdovers of the old morphosyntax?
Naturally the change of state usage also exists and I think this is what happens with falling in love in Russian (there does seem to be a semantics of process involved, akin to movement; cf. втю́риться в кого "to smash into > to have a sudden crush"). But as I say, I think this is a different sense of the prefix. I perceive no change of state in imputāre - the prefix has the same meaning as in insert, import, only metaphorically. Causing transportation followed by insertion, not causing an internal change of state. I don't think IE languages like Latin or Russian distinguish these uses morphologically, both are in + accusative; it's English that has seemingly innovated a distinction by adopting "into" for the change-of-state function by combining the in and to options (cf. "turn to dust").
†Although I remember that Lithuanian has something like 'He became an eagle out of a man.'
Well, this doesn't preclude Lithuanian having an į + accusative, for example išversti į lietuvių kalbą "to translate into Lithuanian", since these are different thematic roles (for the record I don't know Lithuanian). Russian combines the two in он преврати́лся из челове́ка в орла́ "he turned out of a man into an eagle". Here too English conceives the source as a proximate "from", differently from Russian.
 
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scherz0

New Member
The OED example of 'he imputes unto me certain crimes' seems to follow that general rule of reinforcing the etymological/derivative morpheme with a native one, like 'compare st with (cum) something' (even though I suppose that could rather be 'with = against/side-by-side').
What does your "st" mean?

Not at all! OP presumably doesn't mind his thinking (or homework) being done for him; I'm just 'spitballing', as they say. :cool:
None of my questions are homework...I'm just learning etymology for fun! I don't mind you experts thinking for me, because I'm a nincompoop. But I'd appreciate if y'all can stick to examples in English, or at least Neo-Latin languages, because I don't know any Russian, and I don't understand the analogies above to Russian.
 
scherz0 dixit:
What does your "st" mean?
'something'

Ambrosio's Russian example was merely an aside. His main point was against my reasoning of 'state-change'.
I'm just learning etymology for fun! I don't mind you experts thinking for me, because I'm a nincompoop.
A glaring incongruity: anyone who learns for fun is the perfect anti-nincompoop, or for the nonce, non-compoop. :hat:
 
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