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Научно-исследовательская работа на тему The types and functions of shortened words in Modern English




  1. Theoretical aspects of shortened words…………………………………………5

    1. Shortening of spoken words……………………………………………………..6

    2. Graphical abbreviations and acronyms………………………………………….8

    3. Abbreviations as the major type of shortenings………………………………..14

    4. Minor types of lexical oppositions……………………………………………..16

  1. Practical aspects of using shortened words…………………………………….22

2.1. Usage of abbreviations in Mass Media………………………………………..23

2.2. Usage of abbreviations in informational and technical sphere………………..25

2.3. Usage of abbreviations in Medicine…………………………………………..29





Shortening of words is one of the developing branches of lexicology nowadays. Being a developing branch of linguistics it requires a special attention of teachers to be adequate to their specialization in English and it reflects the general trend of simplification of a language.

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.

Shortening in communication (especially written) the process or result of representing a word or group of words by a shorter form of the word or phrase. The problems of shortened lexical units as specific language phenomena in modern languages attracted attention of many researchers. These problems are considered to numerous articles and separate researches of Kazakh, Russian and foreign authors.

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 main reason for choosing this topic is that there are many words and word groups which have their shortened version. Very often those shortened words occur in various texts, such as technical writing, statistical material, tables and notes. I decided to look up what abbreviations are commonly used in mass media, medicine, informational and technical sphere, especially in newspaper articles and textbooks. The other reason is to figure out when and how abbreviations are used in written language.

The object of the research: is lexical level of English language.

The subject of the research: is types and functions of shortenings in English language.

The aim of the research: is giving general characteristics to shortened lexical units and defining the main ways, types, causes and functions. 

The objectives:

  • Collect theoretical material about abbreviations, their functions and meanings.

  • Study and analyze the scientific and educational literature.

  • Analyze the existing categorizations of shortenings.

  • Define the functions of shortened lexical units.

  • Perform practical analysis about the usage of abbreviations in mass media, medicine, informational and technical sphere.

The hypothesis: if we develop students’ knowledge of shortened words, we can widen their vocabulary and develop speech in English language.

Methods of research:

  • Methods of analysis of the information sources and references;

  • critical study of scientific literature;

  • description;

  • comparison;

  • observation.

Scientific basis of the research: In this course paper was involved 37 works of scientists on types and functions of abbreviations.

Structure of the research: This course paper consists of introduction, two parts, conclusion, references and appendices.

In the first part theoretical aspects of types and classifications of shortenings are considered.

In the second part there are practical aspects of using shortenings in mass media, medicine, informational and technical sphere.

The practical value: This material can be recommended for widening vocabulary and development of speech and knowledge of English language.

  1. Theoretical aspects of shortened words

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. [1]

Most shortened forms of words are not acceptable in a formal writing. There are two main types of shortened words: contractions and abbreviations.

There are two types of contractions: grammatical contractions and single word contractions.

1. Grammatical contractions join together two words to make a single word.

Examples: it’s (it is, it has); don’t (do not); can’t (cannot); you’ll (you will); should’ve (should have); would’ve (would have); we’re (we are); aren’t (are not); isn’t (is not), shan’t (shall not); let’s (let us); who’s (who is, who has); they’re; (they are); doesn’t (does not)

2. Single word contractions are the shortened form of words that begin and end with the same letters as the original word, and do NOT have a full-stop. Generally speaking, you should avoid using these in your writing unless they are commonly used in a particular field of study (discipline) or used in a reference list or in-text citation.

Examples: govt (government); dept (department), Cwth (Commonwealth), Qld (Queensland) [2]

Contractions are regarded as informal language and should not be used in assignment or essay writing—these words should be written in full in writing. [1] (Appendix 2)

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word that does not end in the same letter as the original word. Generally, full-stops are used. Unless the word is used in reference list or is an accepted form for in-text references, it is important to follow the rules for formal writing and write the term in full.

1. Days and months: They should be written in full in text, but used in the correct standard abbreviation for longer months when it is used in reference list

Examples: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

2. Compass points: They should be written in full in text and hyphenated compound forms—do not capitalise unless you use the abbreviated form in diagrams or illustrations.

Examples: north, south, east, west, south-western, south-easterly winds

3. Geographical features: Always write the full name of geographical features in your written text—do not use abbreviations as you would do on a map or diagram.

Examples: Sydney Harbour, North Island, Snowy Mountains, Brisbane River, Cape York. [2]

The shortening of words also stands apart from the above two-fold division of word-formation. It cannot be regarded as part of either word-derivation or word-composition for the simple reason that neither derivational base nor the derivational affix can be singled out from the shortened word. [3]

Shortening consists in substituting a part for a whole. Shortening comprises essentially different ways of word creation. It involves:

  1. Transformation of a word-group into a word;

  2. A change of the word-structure resulting in a new-lexical item, i.e. clipping. [4]

Shortening may be represented as significant subtraction, in which part of the original word or word group is taken away. Shortening consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts, as a result of which the new form receives some linguistic value of its own. [5]

Transformations of word-groups into words involve different types of lexical shortening : ellipsis or substantivization, initial letter or syllable abbreviations, blendings, etc. [4]

    1. Shortening of spoken word.

As a type of word-building shortening of spoken words, also called clipping or curtailment, is recorded in the English language as far back 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; vacun from vacuum cleaner, etc. [6]

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 Greek tele “far”, it is a combining from used to coin many special terms denoting instruments and process which produce or record results at a distance, such as telecommunication, telemechanics, telepathy, telephone, telescope. Tele – in telecast does not mean “far”, it is a new development – the shortened variant of television rendering a special new notion. [1]

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.[6]

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 aphesis1); 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. [6]

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 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 from quantitatively, stylistically and sometimes emotionally, the prototype being stylistically and emotionally neutral, e.g. doc – from doctor, exam from examination. Also in proper names: Becky from Rebecca, Frisco from San Francisco, Japs from Japanese.[7] The missing part cap 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 synchronic 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.[9]

  2. In the opposite extreme case the connection can be established only etymologically. Consequently a pair of etymological doublets comes into being , e.g. chap – Chapman, fan – fanatic, miss – mistress. Various classifications of shortened words have been or may be offered. [7] 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 only a 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.[9]

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, because a shortened word is always in some way different from its prototype in meaning and usage. [8]

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 ran take functional suffixes: "Ref’s 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). Cf. sing. — bike, bod, pl. — bikes, bods, Inf. — to vac, Part. I — vacking, Past Indefinite tense and Part. II — vacked. Most of these by conversion produce verbs: to phone, to vac, to vet, etc., in which the semantic relationship with the prototype remains quite clear. They also serve as basis for further word-formation by derivation or com"Times New Roman, serif">fancy n (from fantasy), fancy v, fancier n, fanciful a, fancifully adv, fancifulness n, fancy-ball n, fancy-dress n, fancy-work n, etc.; or fantasmo ‘supremely fantastic’ from fantastic+-mo on the analogy with supremo ‘a chief. [9]

In both types the clipped forms (doc, exam, chap, fan, etc.) exist in the language alongside their respective prototypes. The difference, how- ever, is that whereas words belonging to the first group can be replaced by their prototypes and show in this way a certain degree of inter-changeability, 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 curtailed words belonging to this type are mostly monosemantic as, for example, lab, exam, fan. Also they are often homonymous: compare van and vac as treated above, also gym for gymnastics and gym for gymnasium, or vet for veteran and veterinary. [6]

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 valency 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) or trannie (transistor) 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 informativeness of parts of words. 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 signalling 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. [9]

    1. Graphical abbreviations and acronyms

In Modern English many new abbreviations, acronyms, initials, blends are formed because the tempo of life is increasing and it becomes necessary to give more and more information in the shortest possible time. [10]

Because of the ever closer connection between the oral and the written forms of the language it is sometimes difficult to differentiate clippings formed in oral speech from graphical abbreviations. The more so as the latter often pass into oral speech and become widely used in conversation. [9]

There are also linguistic causes of abbreviating words and word-groups, such as the demand of rhythm, which is satisfied in English by monosyllabic words. When borrowings from other languages are assimilated in English they are shortened. Here we have modification of form on the basis of analogy, e.g. the Latin borrowing fanaticus is shortened to fan on the analogy with native words: man, pan, tan, etc.

There are two main types of shortenings: graphical and lexical. [10]

Graphical abbreviations are the result of shortening of words and word-groups only in written speech while orally the corresponding full forms are used. They are used for the economy of space and and effort in writing.

The oldest group of graphical abbreviations in English is of Latin origin. In Russian this type of abbreviation is not typical. In these abbreviations in the spelling Latin words are shortened, while orally the corresponding English equivalents are pronounced in the full form [12], e.g. – for example (Latin exampli gratia), a.m. – in the morning (ante meridiem), No – number (numero), p.a. – a year (per annum), i.e. – that is (idest).[11] in some cases initial letters are pronounced, e.g. a.m. [ei’em], p.m. [pi:’em] etc. In such cases they can be treated as lexical initial abbreviations. [12]

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. Abbreviation is achieved by omission of letters form one or more parts of the whole, as for instance abbr 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 orthoepic correlation exists in such cases and the unabbreviated word is pronounced: ll [lainz], pp [‘peidgiz]. [6]

There are also graphical abbreviations of native origin where in the spelling we have abbreviations of word or word-groups of the corresponding English equivalents in the full form. We have several semantic groups of them:

  1. Days of the week, e.g. Mon – Monday, Tue – Tuesday etc;

  2. Names of months, e.g. Apr – April, Aug – August, Sep – September;

  3. Names of counties in UK, Yorks – Yorkshire, Berks – Berkshire etc;

  4. Names of states in USA, e.g. Ala – Alabama, Alas – Alaska, Calif – California etc;

  5. Names of address, e.g. Mr, Mrs, Ms, DR etc;

  6. Military ranks, e.g. capt – captain, col – colonel, sgt – sergeant etc;

  7. Scientific degrees, e.g. BA Bachelor of Arts, DM – Doctor of Medicine.

  8. Units of time, length, weight, e.g. f./ft – foot/feet, sec. – second, in. – inch, mg. – milligram etc.

The reading of some graphical abbreviations depends on the context, e.g. m can be read as: male, married, masculine, metre, mile, million, minute; l.p. can be read as long-playing, low pressure. [10]

Abbreviations may be nearly as old as writing itself; they allow a writer to save time, space, and effort.The cost of materials like parchment, paper, and ink was another major impetus to shorten words andphrases. Even with the invention of the printing press, cost remained important, and printers looked forways to save space without diluting the message. Many abbreviations have become standard, includingabbreviations for days of the week ( Mon., Tues. ) and months of the year ( Jan., Feb. ); common Latinterms ( lb., e.g. ); units of time and measurement ( min., ft. ); titles of individuals ( Mrs., Rev. ); and titles ornames of organizations ( NCAA, UNESCO ), government bodies ( SCOTUS, EPA ), and states and cities ( Pa.,NYC ).[13]

 The usual practice in American English is to use a period to end any abbreviation that stands for a singleword: for example, assoc.  or assn.  for association ), whereas in British English the period is typically omittedif the abbreviation includes the last letter of the word. For example, in British writing the word association might be abbreviated as either assoc.  or assn  (without the period); likewise, Fr.  is an abbreviation forFrance,  while Fr  (no period) is the abbreviation for Father  (as the title for a priest). [13]

Initial abbreviations are the bordering case between graphical and lexical abbreviations. When they appear in the language, as a rule, to denote some new offices they are closer to graphical abbreviations because orally full forms are used, e.g. JV – joint venture. When they are used for some duration of time they acquire the shortened form of pronouncing and become closer to lexical abbreviations, e.g. BBC is, as a rule, pronounced in the shortened form [bi:bi:si:]. [10]

There are three types of initialisms in English:

  1. Initialisms with alphabetical reading, such as UK (United Kingdom), BUP (British United Press), CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), PWA (a person with AIDS) etc;

  2. Initialisms which are read as if they are words, e.g. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), OPEC (Organization Of PetroLeum Exporting Countries), HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) etc;

  3. Initialisms which coincide with English words in their sound form. Such initialisms are called acronyms, e.g. CLASS (Computer-based Laboratory for Automated School System), NOW (National Organization of Women), AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) etc. [10]

Some initialisms can form new words in which they act as root morphemes by different ways of word-building:

  1. Affixation, e.g. AWOLism (Absent WithOut Leave), ex-rafer (Royal Air Force), ex-POW (Prisoner Of War), AIDSophobia etc;

  2. Conversion, e.g. to raf (Royal Air Force), to fly IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) etc;

  3. Composition, e.g. STOLport (Short Take-Off and Landing), USAFman (United States Air Force) etc;

  4. There are also compound-shortened words where the first component is an initial abbreviation with the alphabetical reading and the second one is a complete word, e.g. A-bomb, U-pronunciation, V-day etc. In some cases the first component is a complete word and the second component is an initial abbreviation with the alphabetical pronunciation, e.g. three-D (three dimensions) [10]

Abbreviation of words consists in clipping a part of a word. As a result we get a new lexical unit where either the lexical meaning or the style is different form the full form of the word. In such cases as »fantasy» and «fancy», «fence» and «defence» we have different lexical meanings. In such cases as «laboratory» and «lab» we have different styles.

Abbreviation does not change the part-of-speech meaning, as we have it in the case of conversion or affixation, it produces words belonging to the same part of speech as the primary word, e.g. prof is a noun and professor is also a noun. Mostly nouns undergo abbreviation, but we can also meet abbreviation of verbs, such as to rev from to revolve, to tab from to tabulate etc. But mostly abbreviated forms of verbs are formed by means of conversion from abbreviated nouns, e.g. to taxi, to vac etc. Adjectives can be abbreviated but they are mostly used in school slang and are combined with suffixation, e.g. comfy, dilly, mizzy etc. [14]


Lexical abbreviations are classified according to the part of the word which is clipped. Mostly the end of the word is clipped, because the beginning of the word in most cases is the root and expresses the lexical of the word. This type of abbreviation called apocope. [10] Here we can mention a group of words ending in «o», such as disco (discotheque), expo (exposition), intro (introduction) and many others. On the analogy with these words there developed in Modern English a number of words where «o» is added as a kind of a suffix to the shortened form of the word, e.g. combo (combination) - небольшой эстрадный ансамбль, Afro (African) -прическа под африканца etc. In other cases the beginning of the word is clipped. In such cases we have apheresis e.g. chute (parachute), varsity (university), copter (helicopter), thuse (enthuse) etc. Sometimes the middle of the word is clipped, e.g. mart (market), fanzine (fan magazine) maths (mathematics). Such abbreviations are called syncope. Sometimes we have a combination of apocope with apheresis,when the beginning and the end of the word are clipped, e.g. tec (detective), van (avanguard)

Sometimes shortening influences the spelling of the word, e.g. «c» can be substituted by «k» before «e» to preserve pronunciation, e.g. mike (microphone), Coke (coca-cola) etc. The same rule is observed in the following cases: fax( facsimile), teck (technical college), trank (tranquilizer) etc. The final consonants in the shortened forms are substituded by letters characteristic of native English words. [14]

An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. These components may be individual letters (as in laser) or parts of words (as in Benelux and Ameslan). There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of various names for such abbreviations nor on written usage. In English and most other languages, such abbreviations historically had limited use, but they became much more common in the 20th century. Acronyms are a type of word formation process, and they are viewed as a subtype of blending. [16]

There is a difference between acronyms and abbreviations. An acronym is usually formed by taking the first initials of a phrase or compounded-word and using those initials to form a word that stands for something. Thus NATO, which we pronounce NATOH, is an acronym for North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and LASER (which we pronounce "lazer"), is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. FBI, then, is not really an acronym for the Federal Bureau of Investigation; it is an abbreviation. AIDS is an acronym; HIV is an abbreviation. URL is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator (World Wide Web address), but many people pronounce it as "Earl," making it a true acronym, and others insist on pronouncing it as three separate letters, "U * R * L," thus making it an abbreviation. The jury is still out. [17]

Whilst an abbreviation is the shortened form of any initial, syllable or parts of a phrase or words, an initialism (or less commonly, alphabetism) refers to an abbreviation formed from, and used simply as, a string of initials.[18] Although the term acronym is widely used to refer to any abbreviation formed from initial letters, some dictionaries define acronym to mean "a word" in its original sense, while some others include additional senses attributing to acronym the same meaning as that of initialism. The distinction, when made, hinges on whether the abbreviation is pronounced as a word, or as a string of letters. In such cases, examples found in dictionaries include NATO /ˈnt/, scuba /ˈskbə/, and radar /ˈrdɑr/ for acronyms, and FBI /ˌɛfˌbˈ/ and HTML /ˌˌtˌɛmˈɛl/ for initialisms. In the rest of this article, this distinction is not made. [19]

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. [9] 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 Una ['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; l 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 fgun) 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. [20]

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 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. [20]

    1. Abbreviations as the major type of shortenings

Abbreviations are freely used in colloquial speech as seen from the following extract, in which C.P Snow 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. Roger 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. [9]

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. ['dзi:'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. [20]

Journalistic abbreviations are often occasioned by a desire to economise 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 Neddy. Elementary education is colloquially referred to as the three R’s — reading, (w)riting and ‘rithmetic. Some kind of witty folk etymology is at play when the abbreviation C.B. for construction battalions in the navy is re-spelt 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. ['dзi:'pi:] (the initials of general purpose). Okay, OK may be an illiterate misinterpretation of the initials in all correct. Various other historic anecdotes have been also offered by way of explanation of the latter. [20]

T. McArthur (1998) states that abbreviation is a shortened version of written word or phrase used to replace original and save space. There are three types of abbreviations: letter-based, syllable-based and hybrid. All may have symbolical or lexical function: symbolic abbreviations serve as formulas (c.c. – cubic centimeters; Fe – iron from Latin ferrum); lexical abbreviations are generally word-like, some less so because they are spoken as letter sequences, as with BBC, some more so because they are spoken as words and often cannot be usefully distinguished from them, as with NATO, radar. Syllabic abbreviations are not common. They use initial syllables from multiple words. [21]

Symbolic abbreviations. T. McArthur (1998) stated that abbreviations that serve as symbols are usually pronounced as letter sequences or as their full originating words, as with c.c. (pronounced as ‘cee-cee’ or ‘cubic centimeters’). In some instances, where abbreviations start with vowel, the use of a and an indicates whether a writer is thinking them as letters or words: a MP ‘a Member of Parliament’; an MP ‘an em-pee’. [21]

Lexical abbreviations. Abbreviations that serve as words fall into three types that shade into a fourth less clear-cut type:

1. Initialism. A letter group that cannot be pronounced as a word, and must therefore be spoken as letters: BBC spoken as ‘bee-bee-cee’.

2. Acronym. A letter group that can be, and is, pronounced as a word: NATO spoken as ‘Naytoe’.

3. Clipping. A part of a word standing for the whole: pro for professional, phone for telephone.

4. Blend. A word made from two or more other words, by fusion (brunch from breakfast and lunch) or by putting together syllabic elements from other words. [22]

Also T. McArthur states that there are at least five variations and hybrids of these basic types:

1. both initialisms and acronyms: VAT (Value Added Tax) is referred to as both ‘vat’ and ‘vee-ay-tee’.

2. Forms that look like one type but behave like another: WHO (World Health Organization) is ‘double-you-aitch-oh’, not ‘hoo’.

3. Part-initialism: CD-ROM (compact disc readonly memory) is pronounced ‘cee-dee-rom’.

4. Combinations of letter groups and clippings: ARPAnet (Advanced Research Projects Agency computer network).

5. Initialisms adapted as acronyms: GLCMs (ground-launched cruise missiles) are called Glickems. [21]

W.A. Sabin gives additional advices. When using an abbreviation, do not follow it with a word that is part of the abbreviation: a collection of CDs (not: CD disks), forgot my PIN (not: PIN number). [23]

Some abbreviations are always acceptable, even in the most formal contexts: those that precede or follow personal names (Mr., Ms., dr., Ph.D.); those that are part of an organization’s legal name (Co., Inc., Ltd.); those used in expressions of time (a.m., p.m., CST, A.D., B.C.). Organizations with long names are now commonly identified by their initials in all but the most formal writing (NAACP, SEC). Days of week, names of the moths, geographical names, and units of measure should be abbreviated only on business forms, in expedient documents, and in tables, lists, and narrow columns of text. When an abbreviation is only one or two keystrokes shorter than the full word (Pt. for Part), do not bother to abbreviate except to achieve consistency in a context where similar are being abbreviated. When using abbreviation that may not be familiar to the reader, spell out the full term along with the abbreviation when it is first used. [23]

According to W. A. Sabin, in business writing, abbreviations are appropriate in expedient documents (business forms, catalogs, routine e-mail messages, memos, and letters between business officers), where the emphasis is on communicating data in the briefest form. In other kinds of writing, where a more formal style is appropriate, use abbreviations sparingly. Organizations with long names are commonly identified by their initials in all but the most formal writing. Respect the preference of individuals and of companies that use a person’s initials in their company name (Harry S Truman, JCPenney, TJ.Maxx). When a company uses a geographical abbreviation in its corporate name or in the name of a product, respect the company’s style (U.S.A. but USA Today; U.S. but US WEST Communication). A few common business abbreviations are frequently typed in lower-case (with periods) when they occur within sentences but are typed in all-caps (without periods) when they appear on business forms (cif. or CIF; c.o.d. or COD; e.o.m. or EOM etc.). [23]

Analysis includes a few communication texts, one contract form and one job advertisement. All texts were taken from J. Dugger and internet database. The analysis has shown that abbreviations are not common phenomenon in formal texts. However, abbreviations are more often used in informal correspondence letters. Considering analyzed sample texts, the most common abbreviations were: ASAP – as soon as possible; B2B – Business-to-business; CEO – Chief Executive Officer; CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight; Dr. – doctor, district; GDP – Gross Domestic Product; Mr., Ltd. – limited; MBA – Master of Business administration; No. – number; p.m. and a.m.; P.O. – Post Office; P&L – Profit and Loss; PLC –Public Limited Company; TQM – Total Quality Manager; VA – Value added. Abbreviated names and weekdays also occurred very often. [24]

    1. Minor types of lexical oppositions

Sound interchange is the way of word building when some sounds are changed to form a new word. It is non-productive in Modern English; it was productive in Old English and can be met in other Indo-European languages. [10]

Sound interchange is the formation of a word due to an alteration in the phonemic composition of its root. [25]

The interchange of sounds is a term denoting change in the phonematic structure of the morpheme in the process of word changing and word-building. The interchange of sounds takes place according to definite strict standards for each phoneme in each given language. [26]

The causes of sound interchange can be different. It can be the result of Ancient Ablaut which cannot be explained by the phonetic laws during the period of the language development known to scientists., e.g. to strike - stroke, to sing - song etc. It can be also the result of Ancient Umlaut or vowel mutation which is the result of palatalizing the root vowel because of the front vowel in the syllable coming after the root (regressive assimilation), e.g. hot - to heat (hotian), blood - to bleed (blodian) etc. [9]

By the historical interchange of sounds we mean a case when the change is not determined by the position of the sound in the word, but appeared as a result of the laws which acted in the language at some definite periods of its development. It is closely connected with historical assimilation. Historical interchange of sounds is also explained by the phonetical structure of the language but has grammatical

significance. [26]

The process is not active in the language at present, and oppositions survive in the vocabulary only as remnants of previous stages. Synchronically sound interchange should not be considered as a method of word-building at all, but rather as a basis for contrasting words belonging to the same word-family and different parts of speech or different lexico-grammatical groups. [20]

Cases of historical interchange of sounds in English can be found among the three forms of irregular verbs, the degrees of comparison of adjectives, different parts of speech originated from one root, the archaic forms of the plural of nouns and other grammatical phenomena. For example:

The three forms of the irregular verbs:

do [du:] – did [dId] – done [dAn] (vowel gradation [u:] – [I] – [A] takes place);

fly [flaI] – flew [flu:] – flown [floun] (vowel gradation [aI] – [u:] – [ou] takes place).

The degrees of comparison of adjectives:

little [litl] – less [les] – least [li:st] ([i] interchanges with [e], [i:]);

much [mAtS] – more [mo:] – most [moust] ([A] interchanges with [o:], [ou]).

The plural of nouns:

man [mxn] – men [men] (vowel gradation [x] – [e] takes place);

goose [gu:s] – geese [gi:s] (vowel gradation [u:] – [i:] takes place).

The interchange of sounds is also observed when different parts of speech are originated from one root:

convert [kon'vE:t] – conversion [kon'vE:Sn];

intend [In'tend] – intention [In'tenSn] – intent [In'tent]. [26]

The causes of sound interchange are twofold and one should learn to differentiate them from the historical point of view. Some of them are due to ablaut or vowel gradation characteristic of Indo-European languages and consisting in a change from one to another vowel accompanying a change of stress. The phenomenon is best known as a series of relations between vowels by which the stems of strong verbs are differentiated in grammar (drink – drank – drunk and the like). However, it is also of great importance in lexicology because ablaut furnishes distinctive features for differentiating words. [20]

By the living interchange of sounds we mean a case when the change is determined by the position of the sound in the word. It is closely connected with living assimilation. The living interchange of sounds is mainly explained by the phonetical structure of the given language. [26]

The other group of cases is due to an assimilation process conditioned by the phonemic environment. One of these is vowel mutation, otherwise called umlaut, a feature characteristic of German Languages, and consisting in a partial assimilation to a succeeding sound, as for example the fronting or raising of a back vowel or a low vowel caused by an [i] or [j] originally standing in the following syllable but now either altered or lost. This accounts for such oppositions as full (adj), fill (v); whole (adj), heal (v); knot (n), knit (v), tale (n), tell (v). [10]

The consonant interchange was also caused by phonetic surroundings. Thus, the oppositions speak (v), speech (n), bake (v), batch (n) or wake (v), watch (n) are due to the fact that the palatal OE [k] very early became [tS] but was retained in verbs because of the position before the consonants [s] and [Ө] in the second and third persons singular. [9]

Distinctive stress is the formation of a word by means of the shift of the stress in the source word, cf., ‘increase (n) – in’crease (v), ‘absent (adj) – ab’sent (v). [25]

Some otherwise homographic, mostly disyllabic nouns and verbs of Romanic origin have a distinctive stress pattern. Thus, 'conduct n ‘behaviour’ is forestressed, whereas con'duct v ‘to lead or guide (in a formal way)’ has a stress on the second syllable. Other examples are: accent, affix, asphalt, compact (impact),1 compound, compress (impress), conflict, contest, contract (extract), contrast, convict, digest, essay, export (import, transport), increase, insult, object (subject, project), perfume, permit, present, produce, progress, protest, rebel, record, survey, torment, transfer. Examples of words of more than two syllables are very few: 'attribute n : : a'ttribute v. [9]

Historically this is probably explained by the fact that these words were borrowed from French where the original stress was on the last syllable. Thus, ac'cent comes through French from Latin ac'centus. Verbs retained this stress all the more easily as many native disyllabic verbs were also stressed in this way: be come, be'lieve, for'bid, for'get, for'give. The native nouns, however, were forestressed, and in the process of assimilation many loan nouns came to be stressed on the first syllable.

A similar phenomenon is observed in some homographic pairs of adjectives and verbs, e.g. ‘absent a : : ab’sent v; ‘frequent a : : fre'quent v; ‘perfect a : : per'fect v; ‘abstract a : : ab’stract v. Other patterns with difference in stress are also possible, such as arithmetic [э'riθ-mэtik] n : : arithmetical) [эпθ'metik(эl)].

This stress distinction is, however, neither productive nor regular. There are many denominal verbs that are forestressed and thus homonymous with the corresponding nouns. For example, both the noun and the verb comment are forestressed, and so are the following words: exile, figure, preface, quarrel, focus, process, program, triumph, rivet and others. [20]

There is a large group of disyllabic loan words that retain the stress on the second syllable both in verbs and nouns: accord, account, advance, amount, approach, attack, attempt, concern, defeat, distress, escape, exclaim, research, etc. [9]

A separate group is formed by compounds where the corresponding combination of words has double stress and the compound noun is forestressed so that the stress acquires a word-building force: ‘black board : : ‘blackboard and ‘draw'back : : ‘drawback.

It is worth noting that stress alone, unaccompanied by any other differentiating factor, does not seem to provide a very effective means of distinguishing words. And this is, probably, the reason why oppositions of this kind are neither regular nor productive. [20]

Sound imitation ( or onomatopoeia) is the naming of an action or a thing by a more or less exact reproduction of the sound associated with it, cf.: cock-a-doodle-do (English) – ку-ка-ре-ку (Russian). Semantically, according ti the source sound, many onomatopoeic words fall into a few very definite groups:

  1. Words denoting sounds produced by human beings in the process of communication or expressing their feelings, e.g. chatter, babble;

  2. Words denoting sounds produced by animals, birds, insects, e.g. moo, croak, buzz;

  3. Words imitating the sound of water, the noise of metallic things, a forceful motion, movements, e.g. splash, clink, whip, swing. [25]

The great majority of motivated words in present-day language are motivated by reference to other words in the language, to the morphemes that go to compose them and to their arrangement. Therefore, even if one hears the noun wage-earner for the first time, one understands it, knowing the meaning of the words wage and earn and the structural pattern noun stem + verbal stem+ -er as in bread-winner, skyscraper, strike-breaker. [27]

Sound imitating or onomatopoeic words are on the contrary motivated with reference to extra-linguistic reality, they are echoes of natural sounds (e. g. lullaby, twang, whiz.) Sound imitation (onomatopoeia or echoism) is consequently the naming of an action or thing by a more or less exact reproduction of a sound associated with it. For instance words naming sounds and movement of water: babble, blob, bubble, flush, gurgle, gush, splash, etc. [20]

The term onomatopoeia is from Greek onoma ‘name, word’ and poiein ‘to make → ‘the making of words (in imitation of sounds)’.

It would, however, be wrong to think that onomatopoeic words reflect the real sounds directly, irrespective of the laws of the language, because the same sounds are represented differently in different languages. Onomatopoeic words adopt the phonetic features of English and fall into the combinations peculiar to it. This becomes obvious when one compares onomatopoeic words crow and twitter and the words flow and glitter with which they are rhymed in the following poem:

The cock is crowing,

The stream is flowing.

The small birds twitter,

The lake does glitter,

The green fields sleep in the sun

(Wordsworth). [20]

The majority of onomatopoeic words serve to name sounds or movements. Most of them are verbs easily turned into nouns: bang, boom, bump, hum, rustle, smack, thud, etc.

They are very expressive and sometimes it is difficult to tell a noun from an interjection. Consider the following: Thum crash! “Six o'clock, Nurse,” crash] as the door shut again. Whoever it was had given me the shock of my life (M. Dickens).

Sound-imitative words form a considerable part of interjections. Сf . bang! hush! pooh! [27]

Semantically, according to the source of sound, onomatopoeic words fall into a few very definite groups. Many verbs denote sounds produced by human beings in the process of communication or in expressing their feelings: babble, chatter, giggle, grunt, grumble, murmur, mutter, titter, whine, whisper and many more. Then there are sounds produced by animals, birds and insects, e.g. buzz, cackle, croak, crow, hiss, honk, howl, moo, mew, neigh, purr, roar and others. Some birds are named after the sound they make, these are the crow, the cuckoo, the whippoor-will and a few others. Besides the verbs imitating the sound of water such as bubble or splash, there are others imitating the noise of metallic things: clink, tinkle, or forceful motion: clash, crash, whack, whip, whisk, etc. [20]

The combining possibilities of onomatopoeic words are limited by usage. Thus, a contented cat purrs, while a similarly sounding verb whirr is used about wings. A gun bangs and a bow twangs. [27]

R. Southey’s poem “How Does the Water Come Down at Lodore” is a classical example of the stylistic possibilities offered by onomatopoeia: the words in it sound an echo of what the poet sees and describes.

Here it comes sparkling,

And there it flies darkling ...

Eddying and whisking,

Spouting and frisking, ...

And whizzing and hissing, ...

And rattling and battling, ...

And guggling and struggling, ...

And bubbling and troubling and doubling,

And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,

And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping ...

And thumping and pumping and bumping and jumping,

And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing ...

And at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar,

And this way the water comes down at Lodore. [20]

Once being coined, onomatopoeic words lend themselves easily to further word-building and to semantic development. They readily develop figurative meanings. Croak, for instance, means ‘to make a deep harsh sound’. In its direct meaning the verb is used about frogs or ravens. Metaphorically it may be used about a hoarse human voice. A further transfer makes the verb synonymous to such expressions as ‘to protest dismally’, ‘to grumble dourly’, ‘to predict evil’. [27]

Back-formation (also called reversion) is a term borrowed from diachronic linguistics. It denotes the derivation of new words by subtracting a real or supposed affix from existing words through misinterpretation of their structure. [20]

Back-formation is the formation of a new word by subtracring a real or supposed suffix from the existing word. The process is based on analogy. [25]

Back-formation is the way of word-building when a word is formed by dropping the final morpheme to form a new word. It is opposite to suffixation, that is why it is called back-formation. At first it appeared in the language as a result of misunderstanding the structure of a borrowed word. Prof. V. Yartseva explains this mistake by the influence of the whole system of the language on separate words. [10]

The process is based on analogy. The words beggar, butler, cobbler, or typewriter look very much like agent nouns with the suffix -er/-or, such as actor or painter. Their last syllable is therefore taken for a suffix and subtracted from the word leaving what is understood as a verbal stem. In this way the verb butle ‘to act or serve as a butler’ is derived by subtraction of -er from a supposedly verbal stem in the noun butler. Butler (ME buteler, boteler from OFr bouteillier ‘bottle bearer’) has widened its meaning. Originally it meant ‘the man-servant having charge of the wine’. It means at present ‘the chief servant of a rich household who is in charge of other servants, receives guests and directs the serving of meals’. [27]

These examples are sufficient to show how structural changes taking place in back-formation became possible because of semantic changes that preceded them. In the above cases these changes were favoured by contextual environment. The change of meaning resulted in demotivation, and this paved the way for phonic changes, i.e. assimilation, loss of sound and the like, which in their turn led to morphemic alternations that became meaningful. Semantic changes often influence the morphological structure by modifying the relations between stems and derivational affixes. Structural changes, in their turn, depend on the combined effect of demotivation and analogy conditioned by a higher frequency of occurrence of the pattern that serves as model. Provided all other conditions are equal, words following less frequent structural patterns are readily subjected to changes on the analogy of more frequent patterns. [9]

The very high frequency of the pattern verb stem+-er (or its equivalents) is a matter of common knowledge. Nothing more natural therefore than the prominent part this pattern plays in back-formation. Alongside the examples already cited above are burgle vn; cobble vn; sculpt vn. This phenomenon is conveniently explained on the basis of proportional lexical oppositions. If

teacher = painter = butler teach paint x


then x = butle, and to butle must mean ‘to act as butler’.

The process of back-formation has only diachronic relevance. For synchronic approach butler : : butle is equivalent to painter : : paint, so that the present-day speaker may not feel any difference between these relationships. The fact that butle is derived from butler through misinterpretation is synchronically of no importance. Some modern examples of back-formation are lase v — a verb used about the functioning of the apparatus called laser (see p. 143), escalate from escalator on the analogy of elevate elevator. Cf. also the verbs aggress, automate, enthuse, obsolesce and reminisce. [20]

Back-formation may be also based on the analogy of inflectional forms as testified by the singular nouns pea and cherry. Pea (the plural of which is peas and also pease) is from ME pesepl. of pesum. The ending -s being the most frequent mark of the plural in English, English speakers thought that sweet peas(e) was a plural and turned the combination peas(e) soup into pea soup. Cherry is from OFr cerise, and the -se was dropped for exactly the same reason.

The most productive type of back-formation in present-day English is derivation of verbs (see p. 126) from compounds that have either -er or -ing as their last element. The type will be clear from the following examples: thought-read vn; air-condition vn < air-conditioning n; turbo-supercharge v < turbo-supercharger n. Other examples of back-formations from compounds are the verbs baby-sit, beachcomb, house-break, house-clean, house-keep, red-bait, tape-record and many others. [20]

The semantic relationship between the prototype and the derivative is regular. Baby-sit, for example, means to act or become employed as a baby-sitter’, that is to take care of children for short periods of time while the parents are away from home. Similarly, beachcomb is ‘to live or act as a beachcomber’; the noun is a slightly ironical word de-noting a disreputable former sailor who searches along the shore for flotsam and refuse or spends his time loafing in sea-ports. Housekeep conies in a similar way from housekeeper and housekeeping.

There may be cases of homonymy in the group, namely: house-break is a verb derived by back-formation from house-breaker and house-breaking meaning respectively 'burglar' and 'burglary'. House-break is also a back-formation from house-broken and means 'to accustom an animal or a baby to indoor habits and civilized behaviour.

In concluding this paragraph it must be emphasized that back-formation is another manifestation of the fact that a language constitutes a more or less harmonious and balanced system the components of which stand in reciprocal connection and tend to achieve an even greater equilibrium of the whole. [27]

  1. Practical part of the research

In order to confirm theoretical positions of our research work we have made a practical research of using abbreviations. We have chosen some examples from newspapers, textbooks and have defined their types and full forms.

The type of shortened words was defined according to classifications of I.V.Arnold. We use “Oxford English Dictionary of Abbreviations” in order to find the full form of the shortened words.

We have analyzed 65 different shortened words in newspapers, informational, technical and medical textbooks.

    1. Usage of abbreviations in Mass Media.

All types of shortened words are widely used in Mass Media. We used popular American and British press to find the examples of shortenings. The newspapers that I used are: “The New York Times”, “Daily News”, “The Wall Street Journal”, “USA Today”, “The Times”, “Financial Times”, “Daily Mail” and etc. We have analyzed 20 shortened words.

1.An extract from the article “House Approves Bill That Allows Policy Renewals” published in November, 15 2013 by “The New York Times”: “…Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia, who voted for the legislation, said that the White House deserved an “F-minus” for its botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act…”

The type of the shortened word:

  1. Nick J. Rahall II – an abbreviation of proper names.

  2. F-minus - compound-shortened word.

2.Another extract from the article called “Obama Proposal Worries Insurers and Regulators” of the same newspaper: “…The entire underlying premise of the A.C.A. — balancing costs of the young, old, sick and healthy — has been left adrift with this announcement…”

The type of the shortened word: A.C.A. – acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: American Correctional Association.

3. The article “Spending Worries Weigh on Japan's Rebound” of “The Wall Street Journal” published the 13th November, 2013: “…Ms. Nonoguchi is spending more on gasoline to visit her mother in a nursing home and her family's food costs have increased…”

The type of the shortened word: graphical abbreviation of a name of address.

Full form of the shortened word: Miss.

4."…There's a lot of talk about the potential benefits of 'Abenomics…”

The type of the shortened word: grammatical contraction

Full form of the shortened word: there is

5. “…Thursday's GDP figures show that a slowdown in exports and personal consumption may have put the brakes on the economy's fast growth…”

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviation

Full form of the shortened word: Gas Detection Panel.

6. An extract from the article “Runners get a shock as coyote joins them for race” of the British newspaper “Daily Mail”: “Runners in a 5 km cross country race in Arizona had a shock when a coyote joined them on part of the route last weekend…” 

The type of the shortened word: an abbreviation of units of length.

Full form of the shortened word: kilometer

7. The newspaper “The Times” published the 17th of November, 2013, the title of the article is “New homes cost £1m each”: “…About £1.3bn of taxpayers’ money has been paid to local authorities through the scheme, according to the National Audit Office…”

The type of the shortened word: graphical abbreviations

Full form of the shortened word: m – million; bn - billion.

8. “… have not used the money to build a single home and some have used the grants for other things, according to a FOI request by the Labour party…”

The type of the shortened word: acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Freedom of Information.

9. The American newspaper “Daily News” 17th of November published an article “NYCHA spends $9 million a year on private law firms doing same work as in-house attorneys”.

The type of the shortened word: initialism

Full form of the shortened word: New York City Housing Authority.

10. “…Japan hopes the 55-year-old daughter of late President John F. Kennedy will work closely with Barack Obama to tackle some urgent U.S.-Japan matters, analysts said…”from the article “Caroline Kennedy arrives in Tokyo to take up State Department post” of “Daily News” published the 15th November, 2013. U.S. – an acronym which mean United States.

The type of the shortened word:

John F. Kennedy - an abbreviation of proper names;

U.S. – an acronym which mean United States.

Full form of the shortened word: U.S. – United States.

11. The newspaper “USA Today” published the 17th November, 2013, the article “Auburn defeats Georgia on miracle play 43-38”: “…AUBURN, Ala. — They never believed this was supposed to end in torment, even as the 20-point lead vanished, even as hope to put together…”

The type of the shortened word: a graphical abbreviation of a name of a state in USA.

Full form of the shortened word: Alabama.

12. “…It takes a thousand little things falling exactly into place for No. 9 Auburn to pull off this kind of season…”

The type of the shortened word: a graphical abbreviation.

Full form of the shortened word: number.

13. An extract from article “Van Damme's Volvo video: the Art of Going Viral” from “USA Today”: “…Volvo scored big with this ad, but in reality, most marketers don't come close to garnering this type of digital attention…”

The type of the shortened word: an abbreviation achieved by omission of letters.

Full form of the shortened word: advertisement.

14. “…Everybody wants their ads to go viral," says Ted Marzilli, CEO of consumer perception research firm BrandIndex…”

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Chief Executive Officer.

15. “…Mixing regret and some I-told-you-so attitude, Ryan said he and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney "didn't quite deliver" during their bid for the White House last year…” This is an extract from the article “Paul Ryan to Iowans: Next time 'be a little more skeptical” from “USA Today” published 17th November, 2013.

The type of the shortened word:

GOP – an acronym.

didn't - a grammatical contraction

Full form of the shortened word:

GOP – US Republican political party - Grand Old Party;

didn't - did not.

    1. Usage of abbreviations in informational and technical sphere.

XXI century is considered to be the century of informational and technical sciences. As these sciences are in the process of development, a lot of short and long terms are appearing every day. Some of them are very popular nowadays and known for every person, others are used only by people of these professional spheres. Here are 25 examples of abbreviations used in informational and technical textbooks.

1.“…These disciplines now sometimes go by other names in different cultures and university department names – system sciences, organization studies, IT, management, IS and especially nowadays, simply informatics…” [29, p3]

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviations.

Full form of the shortened word:

IT – Informational Technologies;

IS – Information Services.

2. “…They also use CDs, data stored in computers or disks, software and procedure manuals…” [29, p13]

The type of the shortened word: an acronym

Full form of the shortened word: compact disc.

3. “…For instance, even though the human voice can range up to 20kHz in frequency, telephone transmissions retain only up to about 5kHz…”[30]

The type of the shortened word: graphical abbreviation of weight.

Full form of the shortened word: kilohertz.

4.“…by Mark Twain, is in uncompressed form at 391 Kbytes and compressed form at 172 Kbytes; the compressed file is around 44% of the original…” [30]

The type of the shortened word: a compound-shortened word.

Full form of the shortened word: kilobyte.

5. “…Claude E. Shannon published “A Mathematical Theory of Communication”, in which he presented the concept of entropy, which gives a quantitative measure of the compression that is possible…” [30]

The type of the shortened word: a shortening a proper name.

6. “… Physical information, such as your gender , age, photo, signature, fingerprints, scars or DNA also help to uniquely identify you for the information purposes of immigration, police, access to building and the like…” [29]

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Deoxyribonucleic Acid.

7. “…Programming languages such as Pascal, COBOL, and Fortran were developed for business and scientific applications…Today, the most commonly used computers are desktop PCs, and data is generally stored on hard drives or USB drives…” [31]

The type of the shortened word:

  1. COBOL – an acronym.

  2. PCs – an acronym.

  3. USB – an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word:

1)COBOL – Common Business-Oriented Language.

2)PCs – Personal Computer in plural form.

3)USB - Universal Serial Bus.

8. “…Web sites are often built with HTML, XML, CSS, ASP.NET, Java and JavaScript…” [31]

The type of the shortened word: acronyms.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. HTML – HypterText Markup Language.

  2. XML – extensible Markup Language.

  3. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets.

  4. ASP.NET: ASP – Active Server Pages; NET – abbreviated form of the word Internet.

9. “…There is a different strategy, known as RAID, that has gained popularity because it needs only one additional disk beyond the primary data disks, and it can tolerate failure of any one disk…” [30]

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word:

RAID - Redundant Array of Independent Disks or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.

10. “Such an environmental perspective was used, for example, in the second assessment report of the IPCC…” [32]

The type of the shortened word: an initial abbreviation.

Full form of the shortened word: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate changes.

11. “… Most DVDs have a storage capacity of around nine gigabytes, 9GB – is enough to hold a complete movie or thousands of pages of written words…”

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviations.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. DVD - Digital Versatile Disc in plural form.

  2. GB – gigabyte.

12. “…The major kinds of digital processors are: CISC, RISC, DSP, and hybrid…” [33]

The type of the shortened word:

  1. CISC – an acronym.

  2. RISC - an acronym.

  3. DSP - an initial abbreviation.

Full form of the shortened word:

1)CISC - Complex Instruction Set Computer.

2)RISC - Reduced Instruction Set Computer.

3)DSP - Digital Signal Processing.

13. “… Why would a tape say 15 cm when the length is actually 12 cm?” [29]

The type of the shortened word: a graphical abbreviation of length.

Full form of the shortened word: centimeter

14. “…ROM is typically used to store things that will never change for the life of the computer, such as low level portions of an operating system…” [34]

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Read Only Memory.

15. “… The most famous example of a command line interface is the UNIX shell…” [33]

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Uniplexed Information and Computing System.

16. “FORTRAN was so innovative not only because it was the first high-level language, but also because of its compiler, which is credited as giving rise to the branch of computer science now known as compiler theory…” [34]

The type of the shortened word: a composition abbreviation.

Full form of the shortened word: FORmula TRANslation.

17. “…It grew out of an earlier language called SIMPLE, written in 1958 by Richard K. Bennett…” [31]

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Simulation of Industrial Management Problems with Lots of Equations.

18. “…BASIC was designed as a teaching language in 1963 by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz of Dartmouth College…” [34] BASIC - an acronym,

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

19. “…Eiffel is a computer language in the public domain. Its evolution is controlled by NICE, but it is open to any interested party…”

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: Nonprofit International Consortium for Eiffel.

20. “…If a programming language is popular enough, some international group or committee will create an official standard version of a programming language. The largest of these groups are ANSI and ISO...” [34]

The type of the shortened word: acronyms.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. ANSI - American National Standards Institute

  2. ISO - International Organization for Standardization

    1. Usage of abbreviations in Medicine.

We have analyzed 20 examples of shortened words and defined their type and full form.

1. The extract from the section about “Acute Abdomen and Surgical Gastroenterology”: “…Barium causes severe caking and peritonitis and should never be given to a patient with suspected GI tract perforation…”

The type of the shortened word: an initialism.

Full form of the shortened word: GastroIntestinal.

2. “Back pain with shock suggests ruptured AAA, particularly if there is a tender, pulsatile mass. Shock and vaginal bleeding in a pregnant woman suggest ruptured ectopic pregnancy.”

The type of the shortened word: an initial abbreviation.

Full form of the shortened word: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.

 3. However, moderate doses of IV analgesics do not mask peritoneal signs and, by diminishing anxiety and discomfort, often make examination easier…” [35] 

The type of the shortened word: an acronym.

Full form of the shortened word: intravenous.

4. From the section about the “Biology of Infectious Disease”: FUO is body temperature  38.0° C rectally that does not result from transient and self-limited illness, rapidly fatal illness, or disorders with clear-cut localizing symptoms or signs or with abnormalities on common tests such as chest x-ray, urinalysis, or blood cultures…” There are several types of abbreviations in this extract:

The type of the shortened word:

  1. FUO –an initial abbreviation.

  2. C – a graphical abbreviation.

  3. X – ray - compound-shortened word.

Full form of the shortened word:

1) FUO – Fever of Unknown Origin.

2) C – means Celsius.

3) X – ray - X – radiation.

5. “…Common connective tissue disorders include SLE, RA, giant cell arteritis, vasculitis, and juvenile RA of adults…”

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviations.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. SLE - Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

  2. RA - Rheumatoid Arthritis.

6. “Past medical history should include disorders known to cause fever, such as cancer, TB, connective tissue disorders… Clinicians should note disorders or factors that predispose to infection, such as immunocompromise (eg, due to disorders such as HIV infection, cancer…” [35]

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviations.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. TB -  tuberculosis.

  2. HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

7. The extract from the section “Myelodysplastic syndromes: who and when in the course of disease to transplant”: The benefits of HSCT need to be balanced against risks of nonrelapse mortality, GVHD, and immune dysfunction. Given the lack of prospective clinical trials in this area, several issues relating to transplantation for MDS remain unresolved, including: a risk stratification approach to patient selection…”

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviations.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. HSCT - Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant.

  2. nonrelapse mortality – NRM.

  3. GVHD - Graft versus Host Disease.

  4. MDS - Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome.

8. “…Exciting areas of ongoing research that may lead to reductions in posttransplantation relapse rate include posttransplantation therapies such as DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, vaccine strategies, and donor lymphocyte infusions to enhance the GVL effect.” [36]

The type of the shortened word:

  1. DNA – an acronym.

  2. GVL – an initial abbreviation.

Full form of the shortened word:

1) DNA - DeoxyriboNucleic Acid.

2) GVL - gamma valeroactone.

9. The extract from the section “Digital signal processing of the ultrasound echoes”: “…The generic architecture of SDR systems composed of GPP, DSP, FPGA and high frequency front-end blocks was proposed by…” [37]

The type of the shortened word: initial abbreviations.

Full form of the shortened word:

  1. SDR – Software Defined Audio.

  2. GPP – General Purpose Processor.

  3. DSP – Digital Signal Processor.

  4. FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array.

General results of analysis abbreviations in mass media, medicine, informational and technical sphere.

Usage of shortened words.


Abbreviation is shortening of a word or words and its porpoise is to save space. Most common types of abbreviations are initialisms and acronyms. Initialisms are pronounced letter by letter and acronyms are pronounced as a word.

There are a lot of abbreviations with various meanings. The meaning usually depends on the context.

The shortening of words also stands apart from the above two-fold division of word-formation. It cannot be regarded as part of either word-derivation or word-composition for the simple reason that neither derivational base nor the derivational affix can be singled out from the shortened word.

Shortening may be represented as significant subtraction, in which part of the original word or word group is taken away. Shortening consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts, as a result of which the new form receives some linguistic value of its own.

To reach our aim we have defined the functions of shortened lexical units; analyzed the existing categorizations and types of the abbreviations; the types of shortening in the newspapers and textbooks. The practical part of the investigation which includes very interesting information for students, self-studied can be recommended for widening vocabulary and development of speech and knowledge of English language.

On the base of researched work, we come to conclusion that we need to use the shortening to develop the grammar, its peculiarities, and to widen vocabulary.
The shortenings are very useful in the society. We meet them on the newspapers, advertisements, all of them are the mass media, medicine, informational and technical sphere and of course at everyday communication.

The abbreviation is very wide theme to investigate; it has many types and tendencies for today. We researched methodical literature, scientific articles, recent works of methodology scientist; using such methods as analyzing manuals, textbooks and books, educational magazines, training appliances, newspapers and of course to find out the latest and the most modern information we used internet.

In this paper all objectives of research are followed:

  • Collect theoretical material about abbreviations, their functions and meanings.

  • Study and analyze the scientific and educational literature.

  • Analyze the existing categorizations of shortenings.

  • Define the functions of shortened lexical units.

  • Perform practical analysis about the usage of abbreviations in mass media, medicine, informational and technical sphere.


  1. G. Amandykova, L. Kabysheva “ Lexicology” p 60, 2008

  2. Academic Skills Office” research of University of New England, 2011

  3. R.S. Ginzburg, S.S. Khidekel “A course in Modern English Lexicology” p110, 1979

  4. R.S. Ginzburg “A course in Modern English Lexicology” p187, 1979

  5. Internet: http://gendocs.ru/v7721/?cc=12

  6. I.V. Arnold “ The English Word” p 110-111, 1966

  7. G. Amandykova “Lexicology of English language”, 2008

  8. Hockett Ch. A Course in Modern Linguistics. N.Y., p313, 1958.

  9. Arnold I.V.. “The English Word” p135, 1986

  10. E.M. Dubenets “Lexicology” p 60, 2010

  11. Oxford English Dictionary, 2009

  12. E.M. Dubenets ‘Modern English Lexicology: Theory and Practice”, 2002

  13. The American Heritage “New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy”, Third Edition, 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company

  14. G.B. Antrushina, O.V. Aphanasieva “English lexicology”, 2008

  15. E.V. Babenko “A Manual of English Lexicology” p39, 2009

  16. Fischer, Roswitha “Lexical change in present-day English: A corpus-based study of the motivation, institutionalization, and productivity of creative neologisms”, 1998

  17. Jessica Clements, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller The Chicago Manual of Style” 16th edition, 2013

  18. "Guide to the Third Edition of the OED". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. August 19, 2010.

  19. Barnes, Noble “Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary”, 2003.

  20. Arnold I.V.. “The English Word”, 1973.

  21. McArthur, Tom. Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford University Press 1998.

  22. Dictionary of Abbreviations (Oxford Paperback Reference) Oxford Paperbacks, 1998

  23. Sabin, William A. The Gregg reference manual. Tenth edition. McGraw-Hill Irvin, 2004.

  24. Dugger, Jim. Business letters for busy people. National Press Publications, Inc. USA 2002.

  25. I.V. Zykova “A practical Course in English Lexicology” p71, 2006

  26. Internet: http://lib.chdu.edu.ua/pdf/pidruchnuku/18/147.pdf

  27. Arnold I.V.. “The English Word”, p 149, 1959.

  28. The newspapers “The New York Times”, “Daily News”, “The Wall Street Journal”, “USA Today”, “The Times”, “Financial Times”, “Daily Mail”, 2013

  29. John Gammack, Valerie Hobbs, Diarmuid Pigott “The Book of Informatics”, 2007

  30. Jayadev Misra “Theory in Programming Practice”, 2012.

  31. Jeri Freedman “Computer Science and Programming”, 2009.

  32.  Arnulf Grübler “Technology and Global Change, 2003.

  33. Chris Woodford “Digital Technologies”, 2007.

  34. Computer Programming” 2007.

  35.  Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Robert S. Porter, Justin L. Kaplan, 2011.

  36. Hematology”, American Society of Hematology, 2012.

  37.  “Ultrasound Imaging”, Masayuki Tanabe, 2011.

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Full form





Irregular forms: "ain't", "don't", "won't", "shan't". "n't" can only be attached to an auxiliary verb which is itself not contracted.

let us


I am




we're /wɪr/ is pronounced differently than were /wɜr/ in some dialects.




very informal, as in "What's he do there every day?"







very informal, as in "Where'd she go?"






used mostly in o'clock, where it is mandatory in contemporary use



Archaic, except in stock uses such as 'Twas the night before Christmas



Perceived as informal, yet old. Actually from hem, which is not the same word as them, a Norse loan.

is not

isn't, or ain't

ain't is contracted from am not and more recently is not; it is generally considered a colloquial contraction.


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