Morphology Personal Name Truncations Term Paper

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A large range of the academic literature centering on the sociological as well as the cultural and linguistic properties of nicknaming can be found. This literature mostly focuses on only sociological and/or cultural properties and/or the linguistic properties but mostly with varying working definitions of the term nickname. For example, some researchers (e.g., Slater and Feinman 1985) notice the structural and sociological commonalities among both the formal and the nicknames whereas, according to some (e.g., Alford 1988) only the descriptive forms are the nicknames. The definition of the term nickname used in this paper may overlap with some of the categories however; there should be no surprise at the commonalities found between the informal and the formal names. As Pulgram (1954, 11-14) has said; the nicknames are the antecedents of many formal names.

Social meaning of nicknaming

The social meaning and function a nickname basically depends on the society that uses it. For example, in some societies it is used for the sake of disparaging someone, while in some societies it represents the unity and solidarity and it may also be used to show the social hierarchy in some other societies as well. As, (Alford 1988, 82-85). Price and Price (1972) have discussed the fusion of identity, name and reputation, whereas, Burton (1999) and Moyo (2002) have described the societies that connect the power and status with nicknames and names. Morgan, O'Neill, and Harre (1979) and Kany (1999) have talked about the similar patterns regarding the children's nicknames. A user can also be identified with a group through the nicknames that he uses (Aceto 2002; de Klerk 2002), differentiate the individuals in the communities that don't have a lot of formal names (Collier and Bricker 1970; Dorian 1970), they can also point out the similarities between the addressee as well as the speaker (Dickey 1997; Chevalier 2004).

There also exists a relationship between the gender of person being referred to and the function and form of the nickname being used (Slater and Feinman 1985; Busse 1983; Phillips 1990; Cutler, McQueen, and Robinson 1990; de Klerk and Bosch 1996, 1997; Wierzbicka 1992). For example, it is noticed that the males tend to use the nicknames a lot more than the females and the nicknames used by the males are usually disparaging whereas, the ones that are used by the females tend to be more affectionate. The nicknames used by females are also noticed to end on vowels and have non-initial stress along with being be longer than those used by the men. It has also been observed by Cassidy, Kelly, and Sharoni (1999) that the phonological cues are continuously used by child and adult English speakers in order to find out the gender of a novel pseudo nickname.

Structure of the nicknames

In order to make a truncation of a word, 2 or more syllables are sometimes merged into a single syllable. Furthermore, it can also combine with the suffixes such as those ending with -y, -ie, or -ey, -i ( Jespersen 1942, 538-50; Huddleston and Pullum 2002, 1634-36). Although it is very obvious that all theses suffixes have a diminutive functions but it can also be notices that the other functions are used here as well. For example, according to Huddleston and Pullum the -y suffix can at time have a "decorative or rhythmic" function.

Most of the research done on truncated nicknames is centered on the consonant sequences and the set of phonemes that may take place in truncated monosyllabic stem (Kahn 1976; Dunlap 1990; McCarthy and Prince 1986; Short 1983; Lappe 2001, 2003). A number of studies have shown that using one of these truncated suffixes given in the set {-y, -o, -er, -a, -s} or not using any truncated suffixes is the choice that one has while creating a novel truncation. Furthermore, it has also been observed that this choice is the making of the novel truncation depends on the nature of the last segments of the truncations as well.

When talking about the personal names, "truncated" and "nickname" are the terms that one uses to point out the several distinct phenomenon. Non-standardized nicknames are basically used to mention any one individual in particular and they are mostly connected to longer forms (Richard Nixon! Tricky Dick etc.). Whereas, another type of nicknames are the ones that are called pet names and although they are associated with the...
...Such familiar forms are normally linguistically related to the full personal name.

The variation that is re done in the nicknames is very common and is usually done because of the desire to differentiate different individuals with the same personal name, sociological trends and idiosyncrasies. Moreover, the linguistic patterns on which the nicknames are formed are not only complex but they are also governed by the phonological and morphological constraints with widespread ordering conventions. Even with all these variations there are a lot of languages that have the same patterns for the formation of the nicknames, the most commonly known patterns are the augmentation, truncation and reduplication.

Due to the complexity of the nicknaming patterns the handwritten rules for individual name variant matching are not only time-consuming but also incomplete. Therefore, in this paper we have tried to find out a number of ways through which we could not only build personal name variant resources but also do the matching tasks enthusiastically. The data for the evaluation of this field is very limited as the name variant resources in the English language are not only very rare but also incomplete and literally absent in many other languages.

Because of the huge variety of nicknames available, a lot of questions arise such as; how the nicknames are actually derived? What is their purpose? Why do some have long and phrasal forms while others are short and precise? In order to answer these questions the writer has adopted a deep and wide definition of the word nickname in that covers all the essential points from the pet names to the noun phrases.

1. Nickname: it's an expression used to refer to someone and is different from the actual name of the referent.

A very important theme that has been repeated throughout this paper is that the nicknames are divided into two smaller categories. In this paper the writer has presented the historical as well as the present data (from past and current studies) in order to show that these categories in which the nicknames are divided have always been very distinct in both their usage as well as structure.

Two most common methods of nicknames formation

The two most common methods of nicknames formation are Back formation and truncation. Back formation has its distinctions from truncation as back formation may alter a words meaning or modify its part of speech but truncation forms abridged words from lengthy words but it does not alter the meaning of a word or the part of speech.

For instance the noun renaissance was taken from Latin whereas the verb was revived after a 100 years from back forming by eliminating the -ion suffix. This section of resurrection into resurrect +ion was achievable as English already had Latin words in the fashion of verb and verb+-ion pairs, for example opine/opinion. Many other words then followed the same precedent in which a verb taken from Latin language and a noun ending at ion came into the language simultaneously, for example project-projection and insert-insertion, etc.

Back formation may be analogous to the reassessment of folk etymologies when it becomes the source of false comprehension of morphology of the longer word. For instance, in the case of a singular noun asset; it is a back-formation from the plural assets. In spite of this asset is not a plural, rather it is a loan-word from Anglo-Norman asetz (modern French assez). Also the -s was reassessed as a plural suffix. Numerous words entered English by this way: previously Pease was a mass noun but it was reassessed as a plural which directed to the back formation pea. In the domain of study statistics, the noun statistic was similarly a back-formation. The verb burgle was employed in the 19th century as a back-formation from the word burglar in Britain (which can be matched up to the North American verb burglarize produced by suffixation).

Truncation method for forming nicknames

According to polyglots "truncation" or "shortening" is the procedure in which word formation is done by reducing a word to one of its parts (Marchand: 1969 as cited in Aronoff and Fudeman, 2010).

As put forward by Marchand (1969 as cited in Aronoff and Fudeman, 2010), truncations are not created as words that fit into the average vocabulary of a lingo, rather they are created as terminologies of a particular group such…

Sources Used in Documents:


Aceto, M. 2002. Ethnic Personal Names and Multiple Identities in Anglo phone Caribbean Speech Communities in Latin America. Language in Society 31: 577 -- 608.

Alford, R.D. 1988. Naming and Identity: A Cross-cultural Study of Personal Naming Practices. New Haven, Conn.: HRAF Press.

Aronoff, M. And Fudeman, K. 2010. What is Morphology (Fundamentals of Linguistics). Wiley-Blackwell

Benua, L. 1995. Identity Effects in Morphological Truncation. In Papers in Opti mality Theor y, ed. Jill N. Beckman, Laura Walsh Dickey, and Suzanne Urbanczyk, 77 -- 136. Amherst: Graduate Student Linguistic Assoc., Univ. Of Massachusetts.

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