Abbreviation (shortening)

  2. Abbreviations
  4. Abbreviations of words
  5. Abbreviations of words.
  6. Fill in the blank. Do not use abbreviations.

1) By word-building in linguistics the processes of producing new words from the resources of this particular language are understood. Together with borrowings, word-building provides language with enlarging and enriching the vocabulary. Three degrees of productivity are distinguished for derivational patterns and individual derivational affixes: (1) highly productive, (2) productive or semi-productive and (3) non-productive.

2) Types of word-building. There are four types of word-building in English: affixation (derivation), conversion, composition and shortening (contraction). The most productive ways of word-building are conversion, derivation and composition.

If we describe a word as an autonomous unit of language in which a particular meaning is associated with a particular sound complex and which is capable of a particular grammatical employment and able to form a sentence by itself, we have the possibility to distinguish it from the other fundamental language unit, namely, the morpheme.

A m o o r p h e m e unlike a word is not autonomous, and the morphemes occur in speech only as the inherent parts of words. They are also not divisible into smaller meaningful units. That is why the morpheme can be defined as the minimum meaningful language unit.

A term morpheme is derived from Greek morphe form + eme smalles meaningful unit of form. According to the role that the morphemes play in constructing words, morphemes are subdivided into roots and affixes. The latter are further subdivided, according to their position, into prefixes, suffixes and infixes, and according to their function and meaning, into derivational and functional affixes, the latter also called endings or outer formatives.

When a derivational or functional affix is stripped from the word, what remains is a stem.

In conformity with the division of derivational affixes into suffixes and prefixes affixation is subdivided into suffixation and prefixation. Distinction is naturally made between prefixal and suffixal derivatives according to the last stage of derivation, which determines the nature of the immediate constituents of the pattern that signals the relationship of the derived word with its motivating source unit, e.g. unjust (un + just), justify (just + ify), arrangement (arrange + ment), non-smoker (non + smoker). Words like reappearance, unreasonable, denationalize, are often qualified as prefixal-suffixal derivatives. R. S. Ginzburg insists that this classification is relevant only in terms of the constituent morphemes such words are made up of, i.e. from the angle of morphemic analysis. From the point of view of derivational analysis, such words are mostly either suffixal or prefixal derivatives, e.g. sub-atomic = sub + (atom + ic), unreasonable = un + (reason + able), denationalize = de + (national + ize), discouragement = (dis + courage) + ment.

A careful study of a great many suffixal and prefixal derivatives has revealed an essential difference between them. In Modern English, suffixation is mostly characteristic of noun and adjective formation, while prefixation is mostly typical of verb formation.

Prefixation is the formation of words with the help of prefixes. The interpretation of the terms prefix and prefixation now firmly rooted in linguistic literature has undergone a certain evolution. For instance, some time ago there were linguists who treated prefixation as part of word-composition (or compounding). The greater semantic independence of prefixes as compared with suffixes led the linguists to identify prefixes with the first component part of a compound word.

At present the majority of scholars treat prefixation as an integral part of word-derivation regarding prefixes as derivational affixes which differ essentially both from root-morphemes and non-derivational prepositive morphemes. Opinion sometimes differs concerning the interpretation of the functional status of certain individual groups of morphemes which commonly occur as first component parts of words. H. Marchand, for instance, analyses words like to overdo, to underestimate as compound verbs, the first component of which are locative particles, not prefixes. In a similar way he interprets words like income, onlooker, outhouse qualifying them as compounds with locative particles as first elements.R. S. Ginzburg states there are about 51 prefixes in the system of Modern English word-formation.


Unlike suffixation, which is usually more closely bound up with the paradigm of a certain part of speech, prefixation is considered to be more neutral in this respect. It is significant that in linguistic literature derivational suffixes are always divided into noun-forming, adjective-forming and so on; prefixes, however, are treated differently. They are described either in alphabetical order or sub-divided into several classes in accordance with their origin,. Meaning or function and never according to the part of speech.

Prefixes may be classified on different principles. Diachronically distinction is made between prefixes of native and foreign origin. Synchronically prefixes may be classified:

(1) According to the class of words they preferably form. Recent investigations allow one to classify prefixes according to this principle. It must be noted that most of the 51 prefixes of Modern English function in more than one part of speech forming different structural and structural-semantic patterns. A small group of 5 prefixes may be referred to exclusively verb-forming (en, be, un, etc.).

(2) As to the type of lexical-grammatical character of the base they are added to into: (a) deverbal, e.g. rewrite, outstay, overdo, etc.; (b) denominal, e.g. unbutton, detrain, ex-president, etc. and (c) deadjectival, e.g. uneasy, biannual, etc. It is interesting that the most productive prefixal pattern for adjectives is the one made up of the prefix un and the base built either on adjectival stems or present and past participle, e.g. unknown, unsmiling, untold, etc.

(3) Semantically prefixes fall into mono and polysemantic.

(4) As to the generic denotational meaning there are different groups that are distinguished in linguistic literature: (a) negative prefixes such as un, non, in, dis, a, im/in/ir (e.g. employment à unemployment, politician à non-politician, correct à incorrect, advantage à disadvantage, moral à amoral, legal à illegal, etc.); (b) reversative of privative prefixes, such as un, de, dis, dis (e.g. tie à untie, centralize à decentralize, connect à disconnect, etc.); (c) pejorative prefixes, such as mis, mal, pseudo (e.g. calculate à miscalculate, function à malfunction, scientific à pseudo-scientific, etc.); (d) prefixes of time and order, such as fore, pre, post, ex (e.g. see à foresee, war à pre-war, Soviet à post-Soviet, wife à ex-wife, etc.); (e) prefix of repetition re (e.g. do à redo, type à retype, etc.); (f) locative prefixes such as super, sub, inter, trans (e.g. market à supermarket, culture à subculture, national à international, Atlantic à trans-Atlantic, etc.).

(5) When viewed from the angle of their stylistic reference, English prefixes fall into those characterized by neutral stylistic reference and those possessing quite a definite stylistic value. As no exhaustive lexico-stylistic classification of English prefixes has yet been suggested, a few examples can only be adduced here. There is no doubt, for instance, that prefixes like un, out, over, re, under and some others can be qualified as neutral (e. g. unnatural, unlace, outgrow, override, redo, underestimate, etc.). On the other hand, one can hardly fail to perceive the literary-bookish character of such prefixes as pseudo, super, ultra, uni, bi and some others (e. g. pseudo-classical, superstructure, ultra-violence, unilateral, bifocal, etc.).

Sometimes one comes across pairs of prefixes one of which is neutral, the other is stylistically coloured. One example will suffice here: the prefixoveroccurs in all functional styles, the prefix super is peculiar to the style of scientific prose.

(6) Prefixes may be also classified as to the degree of productivity into highly-productive, productiveandnon-productive.

Suffixation is the formation of words with the help of suffixes. Suffixes usually modify the lexical meaning of the base and transfer words to a different part of speech. There are suffixes however, which do not shift words from one part of speech into another; a suffix of this kind usually transfers a word into a different semantic group, e. g. a concrete noun becomes an abstract one, as is the case with childchildhood, friendfriendship, etc.

Chains of suffixes occurring in derived words having two and more suffixal morphemes are sometimes referred to in lexicography as compound suffixes: ably = able + ly (e. g. profitably, unreasonably) ically = ic + al + ly (e. g. musically, critically); ation = ate + ion (e. g. fascination, isolation)and some others. Compound suffixes do not always present a mere succession of two or more suffixes arising out of several consecutive stages of derivation. Some of them acquire a new quality operating as a whole unit. Let us examine from this point of view the suffix ation in words like fascination, translation, adaptationand the like. Adaptationlooks at first sight like a parallel to fascination, translation.The latter however are first-degree derivatives built with the suffix ion on the bases fascinate, translate.But there is no base adaptate,only the shorter base adapt.Likewise damnation, condemnation, formation,informationand many others are not matched by shorter bases ending in ate, but only by still shorter ones damn, condemn, form, inform.Thus, the suffix ationis a specific suffix of a composite nature. It consists of two suffixes ate and ion, but in many cases functions as a single unit in first-degree derivatives. It is referred to in linguistic literature as a coalescent suffix or a group suffix. Adaptationis then a derivative of the first degree of derivation built with the coalescent suffix on the base adapt.

(5) When viewed from the angle of their stylistic reference, English prefixes fall into those characterized by neutral stylistic reference and those possessing quite a definite stylistic value. As no exhaustive lexico-stylistic classification of English prefixes has yet been suggested, a few examples can only be adduced here. There is no doubt, for instance, that prefixes like un, out, over, re, under and some others can be qualified as neutral (e. g. unnatural, unlace, outgrow, override, redo, underestimate, etc.). On the other hand, one can hardly fail to perceive the literary-bookish character of such prefixes as pseudo, super, ultra, uni, bi and some others (e. g. pseudo-classical, superstructure, ultra-violence, unilateral, bifocal, etc.).

Sometimes one comes across pairs of prefixes one of which is neutral, the other is stylistically coloured. One example will suffice here: the prefixoveroccurs in all functional styles, the prefix super is peculiar to the style of scientific prose.

Further, there are suffixes due to which the primary stress is shifted to the syllable immediately preceding them, e.g. courageous (courage), stability (stable), investigation (investigate), peculiarity (peculiar), etc. When added to a base having the suffix able/ibleas its component, the suffix ity brings about a change in its phonetic shape, namely the vowel [i] is inserted between [b] and [l], e. g. possible à possibility, changeable à changeability,etc. Some suffixes attract the primary stress on to themselves, there is a secondary stress on the first syllable in words with such suffixes, e. g. 'employ'ee (em'ploy), govern'mental (govern), 'pictu'resque (picture).

There are different classifications of suffixes in linguistic literature, as suffixes may be divided into several groups according to different principles:

(1) The first principle of classification that, one might say, suggests itself is the part of speech formed. Within the scope of the part-of-speech classification suffixes naturally fall into several groups such as:

a) noun-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in nouns, e. g. er, dom, ness, ation, etc. (teacher, Londoner, freedom, brightness, justification,etc.);

b) adjective-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adjectives, e. g. able, less, ful, ic, ous, etc. (agreeable, careless, doubtful, poetic, courageous,etc.);

c) verb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in verbs, e. g. en, fy, ize (darken, satisfy, harmonize,etc.);

d) adverb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adverbs, e. g. ly, ward (quickly, eastward,etc.).

(2) Suffixes may also be classified into various groups according to the lexico-grammatical character of the base the affix is usually added to. Proceeding from this principle one may divide suffixes into:

a) deverbal suffixes (those added to the verbal base), e. g. er, ing, ment, able, etc. (speaker, reading, agreement, suitable,etc.);

b) denominal suffixes (those added to the noun base), e. g. less, ish, ful, ist, some, etc. (handless, childish, mouthful, violinist, troublesome,etc.);

c) de-adjectival suffixes (those affixed to the adjective base), e. g. en, ly, ish, ness, etc. (blacken, slowly, reddish, brightness,etc.).

(3) A classification of suffixes may also be based on the criterion of sense expressed by a set of suffixes. Proceeding from this principle suffixes are classified into various groups within the bounds of a certain part of speech. For instance, noun-suffixes fall into those denoting:

a) the agent of an action, e. g. er, ant (baker, dancer, defendant,etc.);

b) appurtenance, e. g. an, ian, ese,etc. (Arabian, Elizabethan, Russian, Chinese, Japanese,etc.);

c) collectivity, e. g. age, dom, ery (ry), etc.(freightage, officialdom, peasantry,etc.);

d) diminutiveness, e. g. ie, let, ling,etc. (birdie, girlie, cloudlet, squirreling, wolfing,etc.).

(4) Still another classification of suffixes may be worked out if one examines them from the angle of stylistic reference. Just like prefixes, suffixes are also characterized by quite a definite stylistic reference falling into two basic classes:

a) those characterized by neutral stylistic reference such as able, er, ing,etc.;

b) those having a certain stylistic value such as old, i/form, aceous, tron,etc.

Suffixes with neutral stylistic reference may occur in words of different lexico-stylistic layers. As for suffixes of the second class they are restricted in use to quite definite lexico-stylistic layers of words, in particular to terms, e.g. rhomboid, asteroid, cruciform, cyclotron, synchrophasotron,etc.

(5) Suffixes are also classified as to the degree of their productivity (See more about productivity in Antrushina

4) Conversion, one of the principal ways of forming words in Modern English is highly productive in replenishing the English word-stock with new words. The term conversion, which some linguists find inadequate, refers to the numerous cases of phonetic identity of word-forms, primarily the so-called initial forms, of two words belonging to different parts of speech. This may be illustrated by the following cases: work to work; love to love; paper to paper; brief to brief, etc.As a rule we deal with simple words, although there are a few exceptions, e.g. wireless to wireless.

It will be recalled that, although inflectional categories have been greatly reduced in English in the last eight or nine centuries, there is a certain difference on the morphological level between various parts of speech, primarily between nouns and verbs. For instance, there is a clear-cut difference in Modern English between the noun doctorand the verb to doctor each exists in the language as a unity of its word-forms and variants, not as one form doctor.It is true that some of the forms are identical in sound, i.e. homonymous, but there is a great distinction between them, as they are both grammatically and semantically different.

If we regard such word-pairs as doctor to doctor, water to water, brief to brieffrom the angle of their morphemic structure, we see that they are all root-words. On the derivational level, however, one of them should be referred to derived words, as it belongs to a different part of speech and is understood through semantic and structural relations with the other, i.e. is motivated by it. Consequently, the question arises: what serves as a word-building means in these cases? It would appear that the noun is formed from the verb (or vice versa) without any morphological change, but if we probe deeper into the matter, we inevitably come to the conclusion that the two words differ in the paradigm. Thus it is the paradigm that is used as a word-building means. Hence, we may define conversion as the formation of a new word through changes in its paradigm.

It is necessary to call attention to the fact that the paradigm plays a significant role in the process of word-formation in general and not only in the case of conversion. Thus, the noun cooker (in gas-cooker) is formed from the word to cook not only by the addition of the suffix er, but also by the change in its paradigm. However, in this case, the role played by the paradigm as a word-building means is less obvious, as the word-building suffix er comes to the fore. Therefore, conversion is characterized not simply by the use of the paradigm as a word-building means, but by the formation of a new word solely by means of changing its paradigm. Hence, the change of paradigm is the only word-building means of conversion. As a paradigm is a morphological category conversion can be described as a morphological way of forming words.

5) Compounding or word-composition is one of the productive types of word-formation in Modern English. Composition like all other ways of deriving words has its own peculiarities as to the means used, the nature of bases and their distribution, as to the range of application, the scope of semantic classes and the factors conducive to productivity.

Compounds, as has been mentioned elsewhere, are made up of two ICs which are both derivational bases. Compound words are inseparable vocabulary units. They are formally and semantically dependent on the constituent bases and the semantic relations between them which mirror the relations between the motivating units. The ICs of compound words represent bases of all three structural types. The bases built on stems may be of different degree of complexity as, for example,week-end, office-management, postage-stamp, aircraft-carrier, fancy-dress-maker,etc. However, this complexity of structure of bases is not typical of the bulk of Modern English compounds.

In this connection care should be taken not to confuse compound words with polymorphic words of secondary derivation, i.e. derivatives built according to an affixal pattern but on a compound stem for its base such as, e. g. school-mastership ([n + n] + suf), ex-housewife (prf + [n + n]), to weekend, to spotlight([n + n] + conversion).

Structurally compound words are characterized by the specific order and arrangement in which bases follow one another. The order in which the two bases are placed within a compound is rigidly fixed in Modern English and it is the second IC that makes the head-member of the word, i.e. its structural and semantic centre. The head-member is of basic importance as it preconditions both the lexico-grammatical and semantic features of the first component. It is of interest to note that the difference between stems (that serve as bases in compound words) and word-forms they coincide withis most obvious in some compounds, especially in compound adjectives. Adjectives like long, wide, richare characterized by grammatical forms of degrees of comparison longer, wider, richer.The corresponding stems functioning as bases in compound words lack grammatical independence and forms proper to the words and retain only the part-of-speech meaning; thus compound adjectives with adjectival stems for their second components, e. g. age-long, oil-rich, inch-wide,do not form degrees of comparison as the compound adjective oil-richdoes not form them the way the word richdoes, but conforms to the general rule of polysyllabic adjectives and has analytical forms of degrees of comparison. The same difference between words and stems is not so noticeable in compound nouns with the noun-stem for the second component.

Phonetically compounds are also marked by a specific structure of their own. No phonemic changes of bases occur in composition but the compound word acquires a new stress pattern, different from the stress in the motivating words, for example words keyand holeor hotandhouseeach possess their own stress but when the stems of these words are brought together to make up a new compound word, 'keyhole a hole in a lock into which a key fits, or 'hothouse a heated building for growing delicate plants, the latter is given a different stress pattern a unity stress on the first component in our case. Compound words have three stress patterns:

a) a high or unity stress on the first component as in 'honeymoon, 'doorway, etc.

b) a double stress, with a primary stress on the first component and a weaker, secondary stress on the second component, e. g. 'blood-ֻvessel, 'mad-ֻdoctor, 'washing-ֻmachine, etc.

c) It is not infrequent, however, for both ICs to have level stress as in, for instance, 'arm-'chair, 'icy-'cold, 'grass-'green, etc.

Graphically most compounds have two types of spelling they are spelt either solidly or with a hyphen. Both types of spelling when accompanied by structural and phonetic peculiarities serve as a sufficient indication of inseparability of compound words in contradistinction to phrases. It is true that hyphenated spelling by itself may be sometimes misleading, as it may be used in word-groups to emphasize their phraseological character as in e. g. daughter-in-law, man-of-war, brother-in-arms or in longer combinations of words to indicate the semantic unity of a string of words used attributively as, e.g., I-know-what-you're-going-to-say expression, we-are-in-the-know jargon, the young-must-be-right attitude.The two types of spelling typical of compounds, however, are not rigidly observed and there are numerous fluctuations between solid or hyphenated spelling on the one hand and spelling with a break between the components on the other, especially in nominal compounds of the n+n type. The spelling of these compounds varies from author to author and from dictionary to dictionary. For example, the words war-path, war-time, money-lenderare spelt both with a hyphen and solidly; blood-poisoning, money-order, wave-length, war-ship with a hyphen and with a break; underfoot, insofar, underhandsolidly and with a break. It is noteworthy that new compounds of this type tend to solid or hyphenated spelling. This inconsistency of spelling in compounds, often accompanied by a level stress pattern (equally typical of word-groups) makes the problem of distinguishing between compound words (of the n + n type in particular) and word-groups especially difficult.

In this connection it should be stressed that Modern English nouns (in the Common Case, Sg.) as has been universally recognized possess an attributive function in which they are regularly used to form numerous nominal phrases as, e. g. peace years, stone steps, government office,etc. Such variable nominal phrases are semantically fully derivable from the meanings of the two nouns and are based on the homogeneous attributive semantic relations unlike compound words. This system of nominal phrases exists side by side with the specific and numerous class of nominal compounds which as a rule carry an additional semantic component not found in phrases.

It is also important to stress that these two classes of vocabulary units compound words and free phrases are not only opposed but also stand in close correlative relations to each other.

Semantically compound words are generally motivated units. The meaning of the compound is first of all derived from the combined lexical meanings of its components. The semantic peculiarity of the derivational bases and the semantic difference between the base and the stem on which the latter is built is most obvious in compound words. Compound words with a common second or first component can serve as illustrations. The stem of the word boardis polysemantic and its multiple meanings serve as different derivational bases, each with its own selective range for the semantic features of the other component, each forming a separate set of compound words, based on specific derivative relations. Thus the base boardmeaning a flat piece of wood square or oblong makes a set of compounds chess-board, notice-board, key-board, diving-board, foot-board, sign-board;compounds paste-board, cardboardare built on the base meaning thick, stiff paper; the base board meaning an authorized body of men, forms compounds school-board, board-room.The same can be observed in words built on the polysemantic stem of the word foot.For example, the base foot in foot-print, foot-pump, foothold, foot-bath, foot-wear has the meaning of the terminal part of the leg, in foot-note, foot-lights, foot-stone the base foot has the meaning of the lower part, and in foot-high, foot-wide, footrule measure of length. It is obvious from the above-given examples that the meanings of the bases of compound words are interdependent and that the choice of each is delimited as in variable word-groups by the nature of the other IC of the word. It thus may well be said that the combination of bases serves as a kind of minimal inner context distinguishing the particular individual lexical meaning of each component. In this connection we should also remember the significance of the differential meaning found in both components which becomes especially obvious in a set of compounds containing identical bases.

Compound words can be described from different points of view and consequently may be classified according to different principles. They may be viewed from the point of view:

(1) of general relationship and degree of semantic independence of components;

(2) of the parts of speech compound words represent;

(3) of the means of composition used to link the two ICs together;

(4) of the type of ICs that are brought together to form a compound;

(5) of the correlative relations with the system of free word-groups.

From the point of view of degree of semantic independence there are two types of relationship between the ICs of compound words that are generally recognized in linguistic literature: the relations of coordination and subordination, and accordingly compound words fall into two classes: coordinative compounds (often termed copulative or additive) and subordinative (often termed determinative).

In coordinative compounds the two ICs are semantically equally important as in fighter-bomber, oak-tree, girl-friend, Anglo-American. The constituent bases belong to the same class and often to the same semantic group. Coordinative compounds make up a comparatively small group of words. Coordinative compounds fall into three groups:

a) Reduplicative compounds which are made up by the repetition of the same base as in goody-goody, fifty-fifty, hush-hush, pooh-pooh. They are all only partially motivated.

b) Compounds formed by joining the phonically variated rhythmic twin forms which either alliterate with the same initial consonant but vary the vowels as in chit-chat, zigzag, sing-song, or rhyme by varying the initial consonants as in clap-trap, a walky-talky, helter-skelter. This subgroup stands very much apart. It is very often referred to pseudo-compounds and considered by some linguists irrelevant to productive word-formation owing to the doubtful morphemic status of their components. The constituent members of compound words of this subgroup are in most cases unique, carry very vague or no lexical meaning of their own, are not found as stems of independently functioning words. They are motivated mainly through the rhythmic doubling of fanciful sound-clusters.

Coordinative compounds of both subgroups (a, b) are mostly restricted to the colloquial layer, are marked by a heavy emotive charge and possess a very small degree of productivity.

c) The bases of additive compounds such as a queen-bee, an actor-manager, unlike the compound words of the first two subgroups, are built on stems of the independently functioning words of the same part of speech. These bases often semantically stand in the genus-species relations. They denote a person or an object that is two things at the same time. A secretary-stenographer is thus a person who is both a stenographer and a secretary, a bed-sitting-room (a bed-sitter) is both a bed-room and a sitting-room at the same time. Among additive compounds there is a specific subgroup of compound adjectives one of ICs of which is a bound root-morpheme. This group is limited to the names of nationalities such as Sino-Japanese, Anglo-Saxon, Afro-Asian, etc.

Additive compounds of this group are mostly fully motivated but have a very limited degree of productivity.

However it must be stressed that though the distinction between coordinative and subordinative compounds is generally made, it is open to doubt and there is no hard and fast border-line between them. On the contrary, the border-line is rather vague. It often happens that one and the same compound may with equal right be interpreted either way as a coordinative or a subordinative compound, e. g. a woman-doctor may be understood as a woman who is at the same time a doctor or there can be traced a difference of importance between the components and it may be primarily felt to be a doctor who happens to be a woman (also a mother-goose, a clock-tower).

In subordinative compounds the components are neither structurally nor semantically equal in importance but are based on the domination of the head-member which is, as a rule, the second IC. The second IC thus is the semantically and grammatically dominant part of the word, which preconditions the part-of-speech meaning of the whole compound as in stone-deaf, age-long which are obviously adjectives, a wrist-watch, road-building, a baby-sitter which are nouns.

Functionally compounds are viewed as words of different parts of speech. It is the head-member of the compound, i.e. its second IC that is indicative of the grammatical and lexical category the compound word belongs to.

Compound words are found in all parts of speech, but the bulk of compounds are nouns and adjectives. Each part of speech is characterized by its set of derivational patterns and their semantic variants. Compound adverbs, pronouns and connectives are represented by an insignificant number of words, e. g. somewhere, somebody, inside, upright, otherwise moreover, elsewhere, by means of,etc. No new compounds are coined on this pattern. Compound pronouns and adverbs built on the repeating first and second IC like body, ever, thingmake closed sets of words

6) Abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin brevis "short") is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word "abbreviation" can itself be represented by the abbreviation "abbr." or "abbrev."

Apart from the common form of shortening one word, there are other types of abbreviations. These include acronym and initialism (including three-letter acronyms), apocope, clipping, elision, syncope, syllabic abbreviation, and portmanteau

Acronyms, initialisms, and alphabetisms are abbreviations that are formed using the initial components in a phrase or name. These components may be individual letters (as in CEO), and/or syllables and/or parts of words (as in Benelux). There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the various terms nor on written usage. While popular in recent English, such abbreviations have historical use in English, as well as other languages.

In phonetics, apocope /əˈpɒkəpi/ or /əˈpɑkəpi/ (Greek apokoptein cutting off from apo- away from and koptein to cut) is the loss of one or more sounds from the end of a word; especially, the loss of an unstressed vowel.

In phonetics, clipping is the process of shortening the articulation of a phonetic segment, usually a vowel. A clipped vowel is pronounced more quickly than an unclipped vowel, and these clipped vowels are often also reduced. In English, clipping without vowel reduction most often occurs in a stressed syllable before a voiceless consonant, and clipping with vowel reduction occurs in many unstressed syllables.

Elision is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase, producing a result that is easier for the speaker to pronounce. Sometimes, sounds may be elided for euphonic effect. Elision is normally unintentional, but it may be deliberate. The result may be impressionistically described as "slurred" or "muted."

In phonetics, syncope /ˈsɪŋ.kə.pi:/ (Greek syn- + kopein to strike) is the loss of one or more sounds from the interior of a word; especially, the loss of an unstressed vowel.

In some linguistics fields, and also to an extent in common usage, a portmanteau word (sometimes just portmanteau) is a term used to describe a word which fuses two function words. "Portmanteau word" may particularly refer to a blend, which is "a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings". Such a definition of "portmanteau word" overlaps with the grammatical term contraction, and linguists avoid using the former term in such cases. As an example: the words do + not become the contraction don't, a single word which contains both meanings.A humorous synonym for "portmanteau word" is "frankenword", itself a portmanteau word, blending "Frankenstein" and "word".

A syllabic abbreviation (SA) is an abbreviation formed from (usually) initial syllables of several words, such as Interpol for International police, but should be distinguished from portmanteaux. They are usually written in lower case, sometimes starting with a capital letter, and are always pronounced as words rather than letter by letter.


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