Abbreviation and other types of shortening in the aspect of their functions in Modern English language


Autonomous nonprofit organization

of higher education

“International Slavic Institute”

Department of Foreign Languages

Teaching Methods Subdepartment




D I P L O M A    W O R K

on     the    subject

“Abbreviation and other types of shortening

in the aspect of their functions in Modern English language.”






made by the student  Shikov A.A.


Scientific supervisor






Moscow 2013 



This diploma thesis deals with


























Introduction……………………………………………………………… 1


I. General definition of abbreviation…...…………………………....... 3


II. Main types of abbreviation……………………………..………….. 10

2.1. Shortening of spoken words ……………………………….....……. 10

2.2. Graphical abbreviations and acronyms ………………...…………...20

2.3. Abbreviations as the major type of shortenings ………..…………. 25


III. Secondary ways of shortening…………………………………….. 29

3.1. Blending of words ………………………………………………….. 29

3.2. Back formation ……………………………………………………... 30

3.3. Back formation as a source for shortening of words …………..….. 31


Conclusion ……………………………………………………………… 36


Bibliography ……………………………………………………………. 37









The theme of my diploma work sounds as following: “Abbreviation and other types of shortening in the aspect of their functions in Modern English language”. The actuality of this work caused by several important points. It is safe to say that nowadays the shortening of the words is one of the main trends in the development of Modern English language, especially in its colloquial layer, which, in its turn at high degree is supported by constant development of modern informational technologies and simplification of speech with no loss of its informative content. So the significance of this work can be proved by the following reasons:

a) Shortening of words is one of the developing branches of lexicology nowadays.

b) Shortening reflects the general trend of simplification of a language.

c) Shortening is closely connected with the development of modern informational technologies.

d) Being a developing branch of linguistics it requires a special attention of teachers to be adequate to their specialization in English.


Having based upon the actuality of the theme we are able to formulate the general goals of our qualification work.

a) To study, analyze, and sum up all the possible changes happened in the studied branch of linguistics for the past fifty years and to forecast possible development of this language phenomena.

b) To analyze the usage of different types of shortening in such spheres of social life as mass media, newspapers and Internet.

c) To teach the problem of shortening to young English learners.

d) To demonstrate the significance of the problem for those who want to brush up their English.

e) To mention all the major of linguists’ opinions concerning the subject studied.

If we say about the new information used within our work we may note that the work studies the problem from the modern positions and analyzes the modern trends appeared in this subject for the last ten years. In particular, the shorten language of computer chats was taken into consideration.

The practical significance of the work can be concluded in the following items:

a) The work could serve as a good source of learning English by young teachers at schools and colleges.

b) The lexicologists could find a lot of interesting information for themselves.

c) Those who would like to communicate with the English-speaking people through the Internet will find a shortened language of chats in our qualification work.

Having said about the linguists studied the material before we can mention that our qualification work was based upon the investigations made by a number of well known English, Russian and some other lexicologists as A.I. Smirnitsky, B.A. Ilyish, N. Buranov, V.V. Vinogradov, O. Jespersen and some others.

If we say about the methods of scientific approaches used in our work we can mention that the method of typological analysis was used.

The newness of the work is concluded in including the language of chats to one of the chapter of the qualification work.

The work is composed onto three major parts: introduction, main part and conclusion. There are two points in the introductory part: the first item tells about the general content of the work while the other gives us the general explanation of the lexicological phenomenon of shortening in a language. The main part bears the six points in itself. The first point explains the shortening of spoken words in particular. The second item analyzes the phenomenon of graphical abbreviations and acronyms. In the third point we study abbreviations as the major way of shortening. The fourth paragraph takes into consideration the question of blending of words. The fifth item shows us the back formation examples. The last paragraph of the main part considers back formation as a source for shortening of words.

There is also one part that can be designated as practical and includes real examples from such kinds of mass media as online news channels and analyses them on the basis of preceding analysis of different types of shortening.

The conclusion of the qualification work sums up the ideas discussed in the main part (the first item) and shows the ways of implying of the qualification work (in the second item).


I. General definition of abbreviation


Word-building processes involve not only qualitative but also quantitative changes. Thus, derivation and compounding represent addition, as affixes and free stems, respectively, are added to the underlying form. Shortening, on the other hand, may be represented as significant subtraction, in which part of the original word is taken away. The spoken and the written forms of the English language have each their own patterns of shortening, but as there is a constant exchange between both spheres, it is sometimes difficult to tell where a given shortening really originated.


The process оf shortening is not confined only to words; many word-groups also become shortened in the process of communication. Therefore, the term "shortening of words" is to be regarded as conventional, as it involves the shortening of both words and word-groups.

Distinction should be made between shortening of words in written speech and in the sphere of oral intercourse. Shortening of words in written speech results in graphical abbreviations which are, in fact, signs representing words and word-groups of high frequency of occurrence in various spheres of human activity; note, for instance, “RD” for “Road” and “St” for “Street” in addresses on envelopes and in letters; “to” for “tube”, “are” for “aerial” in Radio Engineering literature, etc. English graphical abbreviations include rather numerous shortened variants of Latin and French words and word-groups, e.g. “a.m.” (Lat. ante meridian) — “in the morning, before noon”; “p.m.” (Lat. post meridian) — “in the afternoon, afternoon”; “i.e.” (Lat. widest) — “that is”; “R.S.V.P.” (Fr. Repondez sil vous plait) — “reply please”, etc.

The characteristic feature of graphical abbreviations is that they are restricted in use to written speech, occurring only in various kinds of texts, articles, books, advertisements, letters, etc. In reading many of them are substituted by the words and phrases that they represent, e.g., Dr. - doctor, Mr. - mister, Oct. - October, etc., the abbreviations of Latin and French words and phrases being usually read as their English equivalents. It is only natural that in the course of language development some graphical abbreviations should gradually penetrate into the sphere of oral intercourse and, as a result, turn into lexical abbreviations used both in oral and written speech. That is the case, for instance, with M. P. - Member of Parliament, S.O.S. - Save our Souls, etc. Lexical Shortened variants of words and shortening, phrases are used as independent lexical units with a certain phonetic shape and a semantic structure of their own. Some of them occur both in oral and written speech, others only in oral colloquial speech, cf. bus, mike, phone, on the one hand, and trig, math’s, sis, on the other.

In most cases a shortened word exists in the vocabulary together with the longer word from which it is derived and usually has the same lexical meaning differing only in emotive charge and stylistic reference. The question naturally arises whether the shortened forms and the original forms should be considered separate words. Some linguists hold the view that as the two units (e.g. exam and examination) do not differ in meaning but only in stylistic application, it would be wrong to apply the term word to the shortened unit. In fact, the shortened unit is a word-variant (e.g. exam is a word-variant of the word examination).

Other linguists contend that even when the original word and its shortened form are generally used with a difference in the implied tone of feeling they are both to be recognized as two distinct words. If this treatment of the process of word-shortening is accepted, the essential difference between the shortening of words and the usual process of word-formation (such as affixation, compounding, etc.) should be pointed out. It will be recalled that words built by affixation, for instance, are of a more complex character both structurally and semantically, cf. teach — teacher, develop — development, usual — unusual, etc. It is not the case with word-shortening; shortened words are structurally simple words and, as was mentioned above, in most cases have the same lexical meaning as the longer words from which they are derived. Another peculiarity of word-shortening if treated as a derivational process is that there are no structural patterns after which new shortened words could be coined. At any rate, linguistic research has failed to establish any so far.

Among shortenings of the lexical type distinction should be made between lexical abbreviations and clippings – lexical abbreviations are formed by a simultaneous operation of shortening and compounding, which accounts for the Russian term “сложно-сокращенные слова” universally applied to them in Soviet linguistic literature. They are made up of the initial sounds or syllables of the components of a word-group or a compound word usually of a terminological character. There are two ways to read and pronounce such abbreviations:


1. As a succession of the alphabetical readings of the constituent letters, e.g.: В.В.С,['bi:'bi:si:] = British Broadcasting Corporation; T.V. ['ti:'vi:] = television; etc.

2. As a succession of sounds denoted by the constituent letters, i.e. as if the abbreviations were ordinary words, e.g. UNO ['ju:noy] = United Nations Organization; NATO ['neitou] = North Atlantic Treaty Organization; laser [‘leiza] = light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation; etc.

As a rule, lexical abbreviations do not include functional words (prepositions, articles, etc.), although there are some exceptions, e.g. R. and D. [ 'a:rn'di:] research and development program.

In some cases only the first component of a two-member word-group or the first two components of a three-member group are shortened, the last one undergoing no change at all, e.g. V-day [vi: 'dei] = Victory Day; H-bomb ['eitj'bom] = hydrogen Bomb; V.J.-Day ['vi'dgei'dei] = Victory over Japan Day, etc.

As a general rule, lexical abbreviations first make their appearance in written speech, mostly in newspaper style and in the style of scientific prose, and gradually find their way into the sphere of oral intercourse. 1

Clipping consists in the cutting off of one or several syllables of a word. In many cases the stressed syllable is preserved, e.g. sis from sister, Jap from Japanese, doc from doctor, etc.

Diminutives of proper names are often formed in this way, e.g. Al from Alfred, Ed from Edward, Sam from Samuel, etc. Sometimes, however, it is the unstressed syllable that remains e.g. phone from telephone, plane from airplane, dome from aerodrome, etc. Traditionally clippings are classified into several types depending on which part of the word is clipped:

  1. Words that have been shortened at the end — the so called apocope ['opokop]—апокопа, е. g. ad from advertisement, lab from laboratory, etc.
  2. Words that have been shortened at the beginning—the so-called aphaeresis [a'fiansisj — аферезис, е. g. car from motor-car, phone from telephone, etc.
  3. Words in which some syllables or sounds have been omitted from the middle — the so-called syncope ['sinkapi] — синкопа, е.g. math’s from mathematics, pants from pantaloons, specs from spectacles, etc.
  4. Words that have been clipped both at the beginning and at the end, e.g. flu from influenza, tic from detective, frig from refrigerator, etc.

It is typical of word-clipping in Modern English that in most cases it is the nouns that are shortened. There are very few clipped adjectives all of them belonging to jargonize, e.g. add from ardent, dilly from delightful and some others. As for clipped verbs it is usually a case of conversion from clipped nouns, e.g. to taxi from taxi, to phone from phone, to perm from perm — “a permanent wave”, etc.

When performing in the sentence some peculiarities the syntactical functions of ordinary of Clipped words and lexical Abbreviations, abbreviations may take on grammatical inflections, e.g. exams, M.P.’s, etc.

These two categories of shortened words may be used with the definite and the indefinite article, e.g. the В. В. С, a bike, the radar, etc. 2

They may be combined with derivational affixes and also be used in compounding, e.g. “Y.С.L.-er” — “member of the Y.C.L.”; “M.P.-ess” — “woman-member of Parliament”; “hanky from handkerchief”, “nightie from nightdress” (with the diminutive suffix -ie); radar man — оператор радиолокационной станции, etc.

Clipped words are characteristic of colloquial speech. The number of clipped words used in everyday speech is rather considerable and newly clipped words keep entering the vocabulary.

In the course of time many clipped words find their way into the literary language losing their stylistic coloring, though not infrequently they still preserve the stamp of colloquial words and, as a result, are restricted in use.

Blend words are words which are comprised of parts from two other words.  Portmanteau is French for suitcase.  Portmanteau words have two parts folded into one; much like the two parts of a suitcase fold into one unit. The noun smog is an example in point. It is composed of the parts of the nouns smoke and fog (smoke + fog). Thus blending is in fact compounding by means of clipped words. The result of blending is an unanalyzed, simple word, for the parts of words blended by the word-coiner (for instance, “sm” and “og” in “smog”) are not morphemes at all in terms of the English language. Therefore a blend is perceived as a simple word unless speakers have received the extra-linguistic information about its composition. Many blends are short-lived. A fair proportion, however, have become established in the vocabulary, e.g. clash = clap + crash or dash; flush = flash + blush; brunch = breakfast + lunch; etc. There are numerous blends, however, in the terminological sector of the vocabulary, e.g. recon = radar + beacon — радиолокационный маяк; transceiver = transmitter + receive — приемно-передающая станция; transistor = transfer + resistor — транзистор, etc.

In considering the diachronic and the formation synchronic approach to language study reference was made, in particular, to the verb “to beg” derived from the noun “beggar” borrowed from Old French. The noun “beggar” was later presumed to have been derived from a shorter word on the analogy of the derivative correlation of the "speak—speaker" type. This process of word-formation is called backformation (or back-derivation) and has diachronic relevance only. It does not affect the derivative correlation for present-day speakers who do not feel any difference between the relationship "speak— speaker", on the one hand, and "beg—beggar", on the other. Examples of backformation are numerous: to burgle from burglar; to edit from editor; to enthuse from enthusiasm; to sculpt from sculptor, to liaise from liaison, etc. At the present time backformation combined with conversion seems to be active in the formation of verbs from compound nouns mostly of a terminological character, e.g. to blood-transfuse from blood-transfusion — переливание крови; to rush-develop from rush-development — быстрое проявление пленки; to finger-print from finger-printing — взятие отпечатков пальцев; to baby-sit from baby-sitter –  приходящая няня, etc.

Summarizing the introduction, we can point out several general concepts about some types of shortening:

1. Shortening of words is typical of present-day English occurring in various spheres of oral and written intercourse. Graphical abbreviations are restricted in use to written speech. Lexical abbreviations and especially clippings are peculiar to the sphere of oral communication

  1. The result of blending which is a compounding of clipped words is always a simple word. In most cases blends belong to the colloquial layer of words. There are, however, numerous blends in the terminological section of the vocabulary.
  2. The process of back formation is of diachronic relevance only.


II. Main types of abbreviation




As a type of word-building shortening of spoken words, also called clipping or curtailment, is recorded in the English language as far back as the 15th century. It has grown more and more productive ever since. This growth becomes especially marked in many European languages in the 20th century, and it is a matter of common knowledge that this development is particularly intense in English.

Newly shortened words appear continuously; this is testified by numerous neologisms, such as dub v., a cinema term meaning 'to make another recording of sound-track in a film in a different language' (from double); frig or fridge n. from refrigerator; mike n. from microphone; tellie, telly or T.V. n. from television set; etc.

Many authors are inclined to overemphasize the role of "the strain of modern life" as the mainspring of this development. This is, obviously, only one of the reasons, and the purely linguistic factors should not be overlooked. Among the major forces are the demands of rhythm, which are more readily satisfied when the words are monosyllabic.

When dealing with words of long duration, one will also note that a high percentage of English shortenings are involved into the process of loan word assimilation. Monosyllabic goes farther in English than in any other European language, and that is why shortened words sound more like native ones than their long prototypes. Curtailment may therefore be regarded as caused, partly at least, by analogical extension, i.e. modification of form on the basis of analogy with existing and widely used patterns. Thus, the three homonyms resulting from abbreviation of three different words, van 'a large covered vehicle', 'a railway carriage', the short for caravan (by aphesis); van 'the front of an army', the short of vanguard which in its turn is a clipping of the French word avant-garde; and van — a lawn tennis term, the short for advantage, all sound quite like English words. Cf. ban n. and v., can, fan, man, ran (Past Tense of run), tan, etc.

Shortening of spoken words or curtailment consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts (whether or not this part has previously been a morpheme), as a result of which the new form acquires some linguistic value of its own.

The part retained does not change phonetically, hence the necessity of spelling changes in some of the examples above (dub :: double; mike :: microphone, etc.).

The change is not only quantitative: a curtailed word is not merely a word that has lost its initial, middle or final part. Nor is it possible to treat shortening as just using a part for the whole as Hackett suggests, because a shortened word is always in some way different from its prototype in meaning and usage. Moreover, every kind of shortening differs from derivation, composition and conversion in being not a new arrangement of existing morphemes, but often a source of new ones.

Shortening may be regarded as a type of root creation because the resulting new morphemes are capable of being used as free forms and combine with bound forms. They can take functional suffixes: "Refs Warning Works Magic" (the title of a newspaper article about a football match where the referee called both teams together and lectured them on rough play). They also serve as basis for further word-formation: fancy n (from fantasy), fancy v, fancier n, fanciful adj, fancifully adv, fancifulness n, fancy-ball n, fancy-dress n, fancy-work n, etc.

It is interesting in this connection to compare the morphemes “tele” in television and telecast. They are homonymous but not identical. Tele- in television is derived from “tele far”, it is a combining form used to coin many special terms denoting instruments and processes which produce or record results at a distance, such as telecommunication, telemechanics, telepathy, telephone, telescope and television itself. Tele- in telecast does not mean 'far', it is a new development — the shortened variant of television rendering a special new notion. This becomes obvious from the following simple transformations: television - vision at a distance, tele(broad)cast – a broadcast at a distance, a television broadcast. In this new capacity tele- enters many combinations: telefilm, tele-prompter (an electronic device that slowly unrolls the speaker's text, in large print out of sight of the audience), televiewer – 'one who uses a television set', telestar (Anglo-American satellite used as television relay station).

The correlation of a curtailed word with its prototype is of great interest. Two possible developments should be noted:

1. The curtailed form may be regarded as a variant or a synonym differing from the full form quantitatively, stylistically and sometimes emotionally, the prototype being stylistically and emotionally neutral, e.g. doc :: doctor; exam :: examination. Also in proper names: Becky :: Rebecca, Frisco :: San Francisco, Japs :: the Japanese. The missing part can at all times be supplied by the listener, so that the connection between the prototype and the short form is not lost. The relationship between the prototype and the curtailment belongs in this case to the present-day vocabulary system and forms a relevant feature for synchronistic analysis. Much yet remains to be done in studying the complex relations between the prototype and the clipping, as it is not clear when one should consider them two separate synonymous words and when they are variants of the same word.

2. In the opposite extreme case the connection can be established only etymologically. The denotative or lexico-grammatical meaning, or both, may have changed so much that the clipping becomes a separate word. Consequently a pair of etymological doublets comes into being. Cf. chap - chapmen 'a peddlers'; fan 'an enthusiastic devotee' – fanatic; fancy – fantasy; miss - mistress. A speaker who calls himself a football fan would probably be offended at being called a fanatic. A fanatic is understood to have unreasonable and exaggerated beliefs and opinions that make him socially dangerous, whereas a fan is a harmless devotee of a specified amusement. The relationship between curtailed forms and prototypes in this second group is irrelevant to the present-day vocabulary system, and is a matter of historic, i.e. diachronic study.

In both types the clipped forms (doc, exam, chap, fan, etc.) exist in the language alongside their respective prototypes. The difference, however, is that whereas words belonging to the first group can be replaced by their prototypes and show in this way a certain degree of interchangeability, the doublets are never equivalent lexically as there are no contexts where the prototype can replace the shortened word without a change of meaning.

The possibility of substitution in case of variants may be shown by the following example: if a newspaper article about a certain musician is entitled "The Boss of the Tenor Sax", there is nothing very unusual in substituting saxophone for sax ("The Boss of the Tenor Saxophone"). The prototype is stylistically neutral and therefore it can stand for the curtailed word. A similar example is furnished by the following heading of a brief newspaper note about the prescription of eyeglasses for racing horses in Chicago. It runs as follows: "Racehorses Are Fitted with Specs". The substitution of spectacles for specs would make the heading a little less lively but not unacceptable.

It is typical of the curtailed words to render only one of the secondary meanings of a polysemantic word. For instance the verb “double” may mean 'to multiply by two', 'to increase twofold', 'to amount to twice as much'; when used by musicians it means 'to add the same note in a higher or a lower octave'. In a military context the meaning is 'to move in double time or run'. As a nautical term it is synonymous to the expression 'to get round headland', etc. Dub, on the contrary, renders only one of the specific meanings.

The curtailed words belonging to this type are mostly mono-semantic as, for example, lab, exam, and fan. Also they are often homonymous: compare gym for gymnastics and gym for gymnasium, or vet for veteran and veterinary. Most of these by conversion produce verbs: to phone, to vet, etc., in which the semantic relationship with the prototype remains quite clear.

Between the two groups of well-defined extreme cases, namely variants or synonyms and doublets, there exist numerous intermediate cases, where the classification is difficult. The appearance of a more complex semantic structure in a word is a step towards its acquiring greater independence and thus becoming not a variant but a doublet of the prototype. This intermediate state is illustrated by the word “polio” which means not only the illness but also a person suffering from poliomyelitis, although the phrases “a polio case” or “a polio victim” are more often used.

The second extreme group, the etymological doublets, may develop semantic structures of their own. Very complex semantic cases like fancy with its many meanings and high valiancy are nevertheless rare.

It has been specified in the definition of the process that the clipped part is not always a complete morpheme, so that the division is only occasionally correlated with the division into immediate constituents. For instance, in phone for telephone and photo for photograph the remaining parts are complete morphemes occurring in other words. On the other hand in “ec” or “eco” (from economics) the morphological structure of the prototype is disregarded. All linguists agree that most often it is either the first or the stressed part of the word that remains to represent the whole. An interesting and convincing explanation for this is offered by M. M. Segal, who quotes the results of several experimental investigations dealing with informal. These experiments carried out by psychologists have proved very definitely that the initial components of words are imprinted in the mind and memory more readily than the final parts. The signaling value of the first stressed syllable, especially when it is at the same time the root syllable, is naturally much higher than that of the unstressed final syllables with their reduced vowel sounds.

As a rule, but not necessarily, clipping follows the syllabic principle of word division, e.g. pep – 'vigour', 'spirit' from pepper, or plane from aero plane. In other instances it may be quite an arbitrary part of the prototype, e.g. prep (school.) 'Homework' is from preparation.

Unlike conversion, shortening produces new words in the same part of speech. The bulk of curtailed words is constituted by nouns, Verbs are hardly ever shortened in present-day English, “Rev” from “revolve” and “tab” from “tabulate” may be considered exceptions. Such clipped verbs as do occur are in fact converted nouns. Consequently the verbs to perm, to phone, to taxi, to vet and many others are not curtailed words diachronically hut may be regarded as such by right of structure, from the synchronic point of view. As to the verbs to pent, to mend, to tend and a few others, they were actually coined as curtailed words but not at the present stage of language development.

Shortened adjectives are very few and mostly reveal a combined effect of shortening and suffixation, e.g. comfy ' – comfortable, dilly – delightful, imposes – impossible, muzzy – miserable, which occur in schoolgirl slang. As an example of a shortened interjection Shun! – attention, the word of command may be mentioned.

Various classifications of shortened words have been or may he offered. The generally accepted one is that based on the position of the clipped part. According to whether it is the final, initial or middle part of the word that is cut off we distinguish final clipping (or apocopate), initial clipping (or aphesis) and medial clipping (or syncope). 3



1. Final clipping in which the beginning of the prototype is retained, is practically the rule, and forms the bulk of the class: e.g. ad, advert - advertisement, coke - coca-cola, ed - 'editor, fab - fabulous, gym - gymnastics or gymnasium, lab - laboratory, mac - mackintosh, vegs - vegetables and many others.

2. Initial-clipped words retaining the final part of the prototype are less numerous but much more firmly established as separate lexical units with a meaning very different from that of the prototype and stylistically neutral doublets, e.g. cute adj, n (Am) - acute, fend v - defend, mend v - amend, story n - history, sport n - disport, tend v - attend. Cases like cello - violoncello and phone - telephone where the curtailed words are stylistically synonyms or even variants of their respective prototypes are very rare. Neologisms are few: e.g. chute - parachute. It is in this group that the process of assimilation of loan words takes place.

Final and initial clipping may be combined and result in curtailed words with the middle part of the prototype retained. These are few and definitely colloquial: e.g. flu - influenza, frig ox fridge - refrigerator, tec - detective. It is worthy of note that what is retained is the stressed syllable of the prototype.

3. Curtailed words with the middle part of the word left out are equally few. They may be further subdivided into two groups:

a) words with a final-clipped stem retaining the functional morpheme: math - mathematics, specs - spectacles;

b) contractions due to a gradual process of elision under the influence of rhythm and context. Thus fancy - fantasy, ma'am - madam may be regarded as accelerated forms.

It is also possible to approach shortened words on the basis of the structure characterizing the prototype. Then the two mutually exclusive groups are cases correlated with words and those correlated with phrases. The length of the word giving rise to a shortening might result from its being a derivative, a compound or a borrowing. The observation of language material, however, can furnish hardly any examples of the second type (compounds), all the word prototypes being derivatives, either native or borrowed, as is shown by all the examples quoted in the above paragraphs.

The few exceptions are exemplified by tarmac, a technical term for tar-macadam, a road surface of crushed stone and tar originally named after the inventor (J. L. Mc Adam, d. 1836); also cabbie for cabman. But then -man in such cases is most often a semi-affix, not a free form, and, besides, the process of shortening is here combined with derivation as in mightier for nightdress.

The group we have opposed to the curtailed forms of words is based on clipped phrases, chiefly set expressions. These differ severable from word clippings as they result from a combined effect of curtailment, ellipsis and substantiation.

Ellipsis is defined as the omission of a word or words considered essential for grammatical completeness but not for the conveyance of the intended lexical meaning, as in the following example: Police summonses are being served in an effort to stop the big sit-down planned for September 17 ("Daily Worker"), where sit-down stands for sit-down demonstration, S. Ullmann following Broal emphasizes the social causes for these. Professional and other communities with a specialized sphere of common interests are the ideal setting for ellipsis. Open on for open fire on, and put to sea for put ship to sea are of wartime and navy origin, and bill for bill of exchange comes from business circles; in a newspaper office daily paper and weekly paper were quite naturally shortened to daily and weekly. It is clear from the above examples that unlike other types of shortening, ellipsis always results in a change of lexico-gravimetrical meaning, and therefore the new word belongs to a different part of speech. Various other processes are often interwoven with ellipsis. For instance: finals for final examinations are a case of ellipsis combined with substantiation of the first element, whereas prelims for preliminary examinations results from ellipsis, substantiation and clipping. Cf. also modes (from Modern jazz). Other examples of the same complex type are perm - permanent wave, pop - popular music, prom - promenade concert, i.e. a concert at which at least part of the audience is not seated and can walk about, pub - public house —an inn or tavern, taxi - taxi-cab, itself formed from taximeter-cab. Inside this group a subgroup with prefixed derivatives as first elements of prototype phrases can do distinguished, e.g. co-ed 'a girl student at a co-educational institution', co-op 'co-operative store or society', non-com 'a noncommissioned officer', prefab 'a prefabricated house or structure'; to prefabricate means 'to manufacture component parts of buildings prior to their assembly on a site'.

It has already been mentioned that curtailed words from compounds are few; cases of curtailment combined with composition set off against phrasal prototypes are slightly more numerous, e.g. ad-lib v. 'to speak without notes or preparation' from the Latin phrase add labium meaning 'at pleasure'; sub chaser n. from submarine chaser. A curious derivational compound with a clipping for one of its stems is the word teen-ager 'a person between 13 and 19', i. e. 'a person in his or her teens'. The jocular and ironical name Lib-Labs (Liberal and Labor Party members) illustrates clipping, composition and ellipsis and imitation of reduplication all in one word.

Compare also snob which may have been originally an abbreviation for sine nobilities, written after a name in the registry of fashionable English schools to indicate that the bearer of the name did not belong to nobility. One of the most recent examples is bit, the fundamental unit of information, which is short for binary digit.

The analysis into immediate constituents is helpful in so far as it permits the definition of a blend as a word with the first constituent represented by a stem whose final part may be missing, and the second constituent by a stem of which the initial part is missing. The second constituent when used in a series of similar blends may turn into a suffix. A new suffix on is, for instance, well under way in such terms as nylon, rayon, salon, formed from the final element of cotton.

Depending upon the prototype phrases with which they can be correlated two types of blends can be distinguished. One may be termed additive, the second restrictive. Both involve the sliding together not only of sound but of meaning as well. Yet the semantic relations who are at work are different. The first, i.e. additive type is transformable into a phrase consisting of the respective complete stems combined by the conjunction and: e.g. smog < smoke and fog 'a mixture of smoke and fog. The element may be synonymous, belong to the same semantic field or at least "be members of the same lexico-grammatical class of words: (smoke) + (fog) > smog; cf. also a new coinage amaze smog + haze: A Weather Bureau official described the condition as a kind of smog-like haze. "Call it amaze," he said. Pakistan was made up of elements taken from the names of the five western provinces: the initials of Panjab, Afghanis, Kashmir, and Singh, and the final part of Baluchistan. Other examples are: brunch breakfast and lunch; transceiver transmitter and receiver, Niffles - Niagara Falls.

The restrictive type is transformable into an attributive phrase, where the first element serves as modifier of the second: cinematographic panorama Cinerama. Other examples are: positron < positive electron; telecast < television broadcast. An interesting variation of the same type is presented by cases of superposition, formed by pairs of words having similar clusters of sounds, which seem to provoke blending, e.g. a motel < motorists' hotel: the element -ot- is present in both parts of the prototype. Further examples are: shampoo < sham bamboo (imitation bamboo); egomaniac < atom maniac; language < slang + language, warphan - war orphan. Blends, although not very numerous altogether, seem to be on the rise, especially in terminology and also in trade advertisements.

Curtailed words arise in various types of colloquial speech, and have for the most part a pronounced stylistic coloring as long as their connection with the prototype is alive, so that they remain synonyms. When the connection with the prototype is lost, the curtailed word may become stylistically neutral: e.g. brig, cab, cello, and pram. Stylistically colored shortened words may belong to any variety of colloquial style. They are especially numerous in various branches of slang: school slang, service slang, sport slang, newspaper slang, etc. Familiar colloquial style gives such examples as bobby, cabbie, mac, and max from maximum, movies. Nursery words are often clipped: grand, granny, hanky from handkerchief, ma, nightie from nightdress, pinkie from pinafore. Stylistic peculiarity often goes hand in hand with emotional coloring as is revealed in the above diminutives. School and college slang, on the other hand, reveal some sort of reckless if not ironical attitude to the things named: caf from cafeteria 'self-service restaurant', digs from diggings 'lodgings', ec, eco from economics, home ecs, lab, math’s, prelims, prep, prof, trig, undergrad, vac, varsity. Service slang is very rich in clipped words; some of them penetrate the familiar colloquial style. A few examples are: demob from demobilize, civvy n from civilian, op n from operator, non-com n from non-combatant, corps n from corporal, serge n from sergeant.

The only types of clippings that belong to bookish style are the poetical contractions, such as e'en, e'er, ne'er, o'er





Because of the ever closer connection between the oral and the written forms of the language it is sometimes difficult to differentiate clippings coined in oral speech from graphical abbreviations. The latter often pass into oral speech and become widely used in conversation.

During World War I and later the custom became very popular not only in English-speaking countries, but in other parts of the world as well, to call countries, governmental, social, military, industrial and trade organizations and officials not by their full titles but by initial abbreviations derived from writing: the USSR, the U. N., the U. N. O. Such words formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term are called acronyms. Two possible types of orthoepic correlation between written and spoken forms should be noted:

1. If the abbreviated written form can be read as though it were an ordinary English word it will be read like one. Many examples are furnished by political and technical vocabulary. U. N. E. S. C. O., also Unesco [ju:'neskou] — United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization', U. N. O., also Uno ['ju:nou] — United Nations Organization; U. N. R. R. A., also Unrra [an'ra:] — United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, etc. A few recent technical terms may also be mentioned to illustrate this type such as jato, laser, maser and a more than twenty years old radar. JATO or jato means' jet-assisted take-off. Laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission radiation; maser for micro-wave amplification and stimulated emission radiation; radar for radio detection and ranging denotes a system for ascertaining direction and ranging of aircraft, ships, coasts and other objects by means of the electro-magnetic waves which they reflect. One more military term might be added: sten-gun, as the name for a light weight machine gun derived from the initials of the inventors' surnames, Shepherd and Turpin + -en for England. Words belonging to this group are often isolated from the prototypes.

2. The opposite subgroup consists of initial abbreviations with the alphabetic reading retained. They also retain correlation with prototypes. The examples are well-known: B. B. C. ['bi:'bi:'si:] — the British Broadcasting Corporation; G. I. ['djii'aij] — for Government Issue, a widely spread metonymical name for American soldiers on the items of whose uniforms these letters are stamped. The last abbreviation was originally an Americanism but has been firmly established in British English as well. M. P. ['em 'pi:] is mostly used as an initial abbreviation for Member of Parliament, also military police, whereas P. M. stands for Prime Minister. These abbreviations are freely used in colloquial speech as seen from the following extract, in which C.P. Snow now describes the House of Commons gossip: They were swapping promises to speak for one another: one was bragging how two senior Ministers were "in the bag" to speak for him. Rigger was safe, someone said, he'd give a hand. "What has the P. M. got in mind for Roger when we come back?" The familiar colloquial quality of the context is very definitely marked by the set expressions: in the bag, give a hand, get in mind, etc.

Other examples of initial abbreviations with the alphabetical reading retained are: S.O.S. ['es 'ou 'es] — Save Our Souls, a wireless code-signal of extreme distress, also figuratively, any despairing cry for help; T.V, or TV ['ti: 'vi:] — television; Y. C. L. ['wai 'si: 'el] — the Young Communist League. The names of English letters seem to favor this type of abbreviation.

The term abbreviation may be also used for a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in a text in place of the whole, for economy of space and effort. Abbreviation is achieved by omission of letters from one or more parts of the whole, as for instance abr. for abbreviation, bldg for building, govt for government, cdr. for commander, doz or dz for dozen, ltd for limited, B. A. for Bachelor of Arts, N. Y. for New York State. Sometimes the part or parts retained show some alteration, thus oz denotes ounce and Xmas denotes Christmas. Doubling of initial letters shows plural forms as for instance pp for pages, ll for lines or cc for chapters. These are in fact not separate words but only graphic signs or symbols representing them. Consequently no orthopedic correlation exists in such cases and the unabbreviated word is pronounced: [lainz].

A specific type of abbreviations having no parallel in Russian is represented by Latin abbreviations which sometimes are not read as Latin words but substituted by their English equivalents. A few of the most important cases are listed below: ad lib (Lat ad libitum) — at pleasure; a. m. (Lat ante meridian) — in the morning; cf. (Lat conferre) — compare; cp. (Lat comparer) — compare; e.g. (Lat exempli gratia) — for example; ib (id) (Lat ibidem) — in the same place; i.e. (Lat id est) — that is; loc. cit. (Lat locus citato) -in the passage cited; ob. (Lat obiit) — he (she) died; q. v. (Lat quod vide) — which see; p. m. (Lat post meridiem) — in the afternoon; viz (Lat videlicet) — namely. An interesting feature of present-day English is the use of initial abbreviations for famous persons' names and surnames. Thus George Bernard Shaw is often alluded to as G. B. S. ['dji; 'bi: 'es], Herbert George Wells as H. G. The usage is clear from the following example: "Oh, yes ... where was I?" ''With H. G.'s Martians," I told him.

Journalistic abbreviations are often occasioned by a desire to economize head-line space, as seen from the following example - "CND Calls Lobby to Stop MLF" ("Daily Worker"). This means that a mass lobby of Parliament against the Nato multilateral nuclear force (MLF) is being called by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

These regular developments are in some cases combined with occasional jocular or accidental distortions. The National Economic Development Council is facetiously termed Needy. Elementary education is colloquially referred to as the three R's — reading, writing and Vithmetic. Some kind of witty folk etymology is at play when the abbreviation C. B. for construction battalions in the navy is respect into sea bees. The two well-known Americanisms jeep and okay may be mentioned in this connection. Jeep meaning 'a small military motor vehicle' comes from g. p. ['dgi: 'pi:j (the initials of general purpose). Okay may be an illiterate misinterpretation of the initials in all correct. Various other historical anecdotes have been also offered by way of explanation of the latter.

Abbreviation and other types of shortening in the aspect of their functions in Modern English language