Minor Types of Lexical Opposition (Shortened Words)

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The English and Literature department

Halimova Muborak’s qualification work on speciality 5220100 English philology on the theme:

“Shortened words Minor types of lexical opposition”




I. Introduction.

1.1. Common characteristics of the qualification work

2.1. General definition of homonyms

II. The Main Part

1.2. Shortening of spoken words

2.2. Graphical abbreviations and acronyms

3.2. Abbreviations as the major type of shortenings

4.2. Secondary ways of shortening: sound interchange and sound imitating

5.2. Blendening of words

6.2. Back formation

7.2. Back formation as a source for shortening of words

III. Conclusion

1.3. Total review of the subject discussed

2.3. The ways of applying of the work

IV. Bibliography



1.1 Common characteristics of the qualification work

The theme of my qualification work sounds as following: “Type of shortening and their function in Modern English” This qualification work can be characterized by the following:

The actuality of this work caused by several important points. We seem to say that the shortening of the words is one of the main trends in development of Modern English especially in its colloquial layer which in its turn at high degree is supported by development of modern informational technologies and simplification of alive speech. So the significance of our 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 adequated 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.

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

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

d) 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 Uzbek 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 novelty of the work is concluded in including the language of charts to one of the chapter of the qualification work.

The general structure of our qualification work looks as follows:

The work is composed onto three major parts: introduction main part and conclusion. Each part has its subdivision onto the specific thematically items. 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 eight 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. In the fourth paragraph of the qualification work we deal with the secondary ways of shortening: sound interchange and sound imitation. The fifth paragraph takes into consideration the question of Blendening of words. The sixth item shows us the back formation examples. The last paragraph of the main part analyzes the homonymy influence onto the appearing 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).

2.1 General definition of homonyms

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 shortening of words consists in sub-of words Graphical a part for a whole. 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. (L. ante meridian)—'in the morning before noon'; p. m. (L. post meridian)—’in the afternoon afternoon'; i.e. (L. 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 meaning1 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—s- 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.

(2) В. В. С ['bi:'bi:si:] = British Broadcasting Corporation; -T.V. ['ti:'vi:] television; etc.

(3) 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

(4)[‘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:rsn'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 r'vi: 'dei]Victory Day; H-bomb r'eitj 'bnm] hydrogen Domb; 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. AH 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.

1) When performing in the sentence some peculiarities the syntactical functions of ordinary of Clipped words and lexical Abbreviations abbreviations take on grammatical inflections e. g. exams M. P. s (will attack huge arms bill) (Tory) M. P.’s (concern at) etc.

2) 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]

3) 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 nighttime from nightdress (with the diminutive suffix -ie); radar man—оператор радиолокационой станции etc.

4) 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.

The term blending is used to de-§ 39. Blending signage the method of merging parts of words (not morphemes) into one new word; the result is a blend also known as a portmanteau word. The noun smog is an example in point. It is composed of the parts of the nouns smoke and fog (smoke-Hog). 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 sin and go 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.

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