ERIC Number: ED166965
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Creating New Words by Shortening.
Kreidler, Charles W.
The reduction of existing lexical items to shorter forms has generally been discussed under the headings of "acronyms,""back-formations," and "clippings." Two kinds of acronym are found, the letter-naming type (e.g. FBI, YMCA) and the letter-sounding type (e.g. UNESCO, CARE). The latter type must be pronounceable within the phonotactic norms of the language; thus it may coincide with an existing word, and sometimes the coincidence is favored for the semantic association. The term "back-formation" has been applied to instances in which an apparent suffix has been removed (e.g. edit from editor) and "clipping" to instances in which the matter removed is not a morpheme (e.g. gym from gymnasium). This paper suggests that such a distinction is not valid and uses the term "clipping" for both. Clipping occurs mainly because people like to play with language and because language has redundant matter which can be deleted. On the phonological side, certain preferences are seen: (1) the clipped form is more likely to be from the beginning of the source form than from the end or middle; (2) it falls into one of a small number of patterns; and (3) it shows all the phonological constraints which exist for longer words. Grammatically and semantically, various innovations are possible: the clipped form may be identical in meaning and function with the source form, it may be more restricted, or it may have a broader meaning and/or a wider grammatical function. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Linguistics (4th, Louisville, Kentucky, April 8, 1978)