Clipping and Hypocorism
In English, we have multiple ways of shortening a long word. In this lesson, we're going to learn two of them that won't change a word's meaning. Let's start.
What Is Clipping?
Clipping or shortening, is another word formation process in which we can shorten a long word and make a synonym. Clipping will not change the meaning of a word and it is mainly used in informal speech.
There are four types of clipping, depending on which part of the word is reduced. Take a look at the following:
- Final clipping (the most common form): When the final part of a word or phrase is reduced. In this type, the first part remains unchanged.
- Initial clipping (fore-clipping): It involves reduction of the initial part of the word. In this type, the final part remains unchanged.
- Medial clipping: this type involves clipping both the first and the final part of a word or phrase. In this type, the middle part of the word is kept.
Here, 'refrigerator' is a loan word from Latin and ' fridge' was then derived from it by English speakers. At first it was spelt 'frig' but over time, regular spelling rules were applied to it and it became 'fridge'.
- Complex clipping: It occurs when a compound word is shortened by keeping and merging its initial parts. Most of the time one part of the original compound remains intact and sometimes both parts of a compound are clipped.
As you can see, only the first part of the compound word remains and the rest is clipped.
Here, only the initial of the first part remains.
Here, final parts of both words were clipped and then blended together.
As you can see, It is both clipping and blending.
English speakers tend to clip each other’s names. For example, instead of saying 'Alexander', they would say 'Alex' or just 'Al'. There are many more examples such as 'Jen' for 'Jennifer' or 'Dan' for 'Daniel'.
Clippings as Slangs or Jargons
Some linguists believe that clippings originated as slang or jargon among students and teachers in schools, officers and soldiers in the army, or doctors and nurses in the medical profession. Let’s take a look at some examples of clippings in these contexts:
Do not forget that clipping is different from abbreviation. Clipping involves shortening a word by removing syllables, while abbreviation involves shortening a word or phrase by using its initial letters or syllables. In addition, abbreviations can end in a full stop such 'Jan.' for 'January'. However, in clipping, we are not allowed to end words with a full stop.
What is Hypocorism?
Hypocorism is a way of shortening a long word to just one syllable by adding –ie- or –y to its ending. This word formation process is mainly used in British and Australian English.
Why We Use Hypocorism?
The term 'hypocorism' comes from the Greek word meaning 'to use child-talk'. So, it is a way of showing affection and closeness to someone or something. In brief, hypocorisms could be used as pet name or nickname. Hypocorism is also commonly used in informal speech, especially among British and Australian speakers in everyday life.
Common Examples of Hypocorism
Here are some good examples of hypocorism:
In this example, it is used as a nickname.
As you can see, 'chokie' is used by Australians in informal speech.
Here, 'doggie' shows affection to 'dog'.
Here, 'toastie' is being used in informal speech.
Here, it shows someone's love for their 'grandmother'.
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