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An interesting pattern revealing the influence of extra-linguisticfactors on word-formation and vocabulary development are such compounds as camp-in, ride-in, teach-in, work-in and the like. “The Barn-hart Dictionary of New English” treats the second element as a combining form of the adverb in and connects the original appearance of this morpho-semantic pattern with the civil-rights movement of the 60s. It was used to nominate such public demonstrations of protest as riding in segregated buses (ride-in), praying in segregated churches (kneel-in), bathing in segregated swimming pools (swim-in).

The pattern is structurally similar to an older type of compounds, such as breakdown, feedback or lockout but differs from them semantically including as its semantic invariant the meaning of public protest.

Somewhat later the word teach-in appeared. The name was used for long meetings, seminars or sessions held at universities for the purpose of expressing criticism on important political issues and discussing them. Then any form of seminar patterned on the university teach-ins was also called by this term. And similar terms were coined for other cases of staging public protest. E. g. lie-in and die-in when blocking traffic.

The third stage in the development of this pattern proved to be an extension to any kind of gathering of hippies, flower children and other groups of young people: laugh-ins, love-ins, sing-ins. A still further generalisation of meaning may be observed in the compound call-in and its American version phone-in ‘period of time on radio or television programme during which questions, statements, etc. from the public are broadcast’, big sitdown planned for September 17 ("Daily Worker"), where sitdown stands for sitdown demonstration.


St. Ullmann follows M. Bréal in emphasising the social causes for these. Professional and other communities with a specialised ‘sphere of common interests are the ideal setting for ellipsis. Open on for open fire on, and put to sea for put ship to sea are of wartime and navy origin, and bill for bill of exchange comes from business circles; in a newspaper office daily paper and weekly paper were quite naturally shortened to daily and weekly.1 It is clear from the above examples that unlike other types of shortening, ellipsis always results in a change of lexico-grammatical meaning, and therefore the new word belongs to a different part of speech. Various other processes are often interwoven with ellipsis. For instance: finals for final examinations is a case of ellipsis combined with substantivation of the first element, whereas prelims for preliminary examinations results from ellipsis, substantivation and clipping. Other examples of the same complex type are perm : : permanent wave; pop : : popular music;2 prom : : promenade concert, i.e. ‘a concert at which at least part of the audience is not seated and can walk about’; pub : : public house ‘an inn or tavern’; taxi : : taxicab, itself formed from taximeter-cab. Inside this group a subgroup with prefixed derivatives as first elements of prototype phrases can be distinguished, e. g. coed ‘a girl student at a coeducational institution’, prefab ‘a prefabricated house or structure’ (to prefabricate means ‘to manufacture component parts of buildings prior to their assembly on a site’).

Curtailed words arise in various types of colloquial speech and have for the most part a pronounced stylistic colouring as long as their connection with the prototype is alive, so that they remain synonyms. E. g.: They present the tops in pops. When the connection with the prototype is lost, the curtailed word may become stylistically neutral, e. g. brig, cab, cello, pram. Stylistically coloured shortened words may belong to any variety of colloquial style. They are especially numerous in various branches of slang: school slang, service slang, sport slang, newspaper slang, etc. Familiar colloquial style gives such examples as bobby, cabbie, mac, maxi, mini, movies. Nursery words are often clipped: gran, granny; hanky from handkerchief; ma from mama; nightie from nightdress; pinnie from pinafore. Stylistic peculiarity often goes hand in hand with emotional colouring as is revealed in the above diminutives. School and college slang, on the other hand, reveal some sort of reckless if not ironical attitude to the things named: caf from cafeteria ‘self-service restaurant’, digs from diggings ‘lodgings’, ec, eco from economics, home ecs, lab, maths, prelims, prep, prof, trig, undergrad, vac, varsity. Service slang is very rich in clipped words, some of them penetrate the familiar colloquial style. A few examples are: demob v from demobilise; civvy n from civilian, op n from operator; non-com n from non-combatant; corp n from corporal; sarge n from sergeant.

1 See: Ullmann St. The Principles of Semantics, p.p. 116, 239.

2 Often used in such combinations as pop art, pop singer, pop song.

The only type of clippings that belong to bookish style are the poetical contractions such as e'en, e'er, ne'er, o'er.


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