Causes and tendencies of English abbreviations

Shortened words and minor types of lexical oppositions. Their specific groups. "Cyber-English" for informal text messages. The types of abbreviations on the newspaper "The USA today". The modern type of shortening to abbreviate the telephone numbers.

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Causes and tendencies of English abbreviations



I. Shortened words and minor types of lexical oppositions.

1.1 Shortening

1.2 Types of abbreviation

1.3 Classifications of shortening

II. Specific groups of shortening

2.1 Blending

2.2 Acronym

2.3 Ideogram

2.4 Contraction

III. Practical part

3.1 Cyber-English for informal text messages and chat room chatting

3.2 The types of abbreviations on the newspaper The USA today

3.3 The modern type of shortening to abbreviate the telephone numbers





The theme of our research work is Shortening of English language: causes and tendencies

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 Russian and foreign authors. Towards the most circumstantial works of these questions we can outline such scientists as D.I. Alekseeva, E.P. Voloshina, V.G. Pavlova, T. Pilze, M.M. Segal, L.A. SHelyahovsky, R. Walse, O. Jespersen and others.

The topicality of our work is in the fact that shortening tendencies like cyber-English and shortening in publications is a less researched modern style of communication (especially written).

The aim of the research work is giving general characteristics to shortened lexical units and defining the main ways, particularities, causes and tendencies.

To achieve our aim we have to solve the following objectives:

1. Define the functions of shortened lexical units;

2. Analyze the existing categorizations of the abbreviations;

3. Make the analytical review of the cyber-English and the types of shortening in the newspaper, the new modern style of abbreviating the telephone numbers.

The object of the work is the shortening of the English language.

The subject is causes and tendencies of English language.

The abbreviation is very wide theme to investigate; it has many types and tendencies for today. At our term paper the scientific novelty of the investigation is the shortening in cyber English, exactly text-messages, and shortening in the newspaper.

The theoretical significance of the work is the usage of shortening in English language reveals its causes and tendencies.

The shortening is very useful in the society. We face to them on the newspapers, advertisements, street posters, magazines, periodicals, television, radio all of them are the mass media and of course at everyday communication.

The practical significance of the investigation is in the fact that this material can be recommended for widening vocabulary and development of speech and knowledge of English language.

Material under analyses:

Researching methodical literature, scientific articles, recent works of methodology scientist; using such methods as analyzing manuals, textbooks and books, educational magazines, training appliances, newspapers and internet.

The structure of our researched work consists of introduction, theoretical part, practical part, working out the types of abbreviations on the newspaper The USA today, the conclusion, appendix and bibliography.

I. Shortened words and minor types of lexical oppositions

1.1 Shortening

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.

Shortening has many types, causes and tendencies. Many scholars have researched them. We give general characteristics of shortening; definitions of scholars and then comparing all of them we give the analytical review to cyber-English, chat language, text messaging and publishing. They are modern tendency among English speakers.

Shortening of spoken words.

As a type of word-building, shortening of spoken words, also called clipping or curtailment, is recorded in the English words as far back as 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 a common knowledge that this development is particularly intense in English. Newly shortened words appear continuously; this is testified by numerous neologisms, such as demo n `a demonstration', 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; telly or TV n from television set; vac n from vacuum cleaner, etc.

When dealing with words of long duration, one will also note that a high percentage of English shortening is involved into the process of loan word assimilation. Monosyllabism 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 aphesis); van `the front of an army', the short of vanguard which in its turn is a clipping of the French word avant-guard; the 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. Shortening of spoken words or curtailment consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts as a result of which the new form acquires some linguistic value of its own. [10]

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 both bound forms. They can 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 Tense and Part. II - vacked. Most of the shortened words by conversion produce verbs: to phone, to vac, to vet, etc., in which the semantic relationship with the prototype emains quite clear. They also serve as basis for further word-formation by derivation or composition: fancy n (from fantasy), fancy v, fancier n, fanciful adj, fancifully adv, fancifulness n, fancy-ball n, fancy-dress n, fancy-work n, etc. 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 Gr tele `far', it is combining form used to coin special terms denoting instruments and processes which produce or record results at a distance, such as telecommunication, telemechanics, telepathy, telephone, telescope and television itself. Tele- in telecast does not mean `far', it is a new development - the shortened variant of television rendering as a special new notion. This becomes obvious from the following simple transformations: television - vision at a distance, tele (broad) cast = a broadcast at a distance, tele (broad) cast - a television broadcast. In this new capacity tele- enters many combinations: telefilm, teleprompter (an electronic device that slowly unrolls the speaker's text, in large print out of sight of the audience), televiewer `one who uses a television set', telestar (Anglo-American satellite system used as television relay station). e.g. It was broadcast via Telestar. Note the capital letter and the absence of the article.

The curtailed form may be regarded as a variant or a synonym differing from the full form quantitatively, stylistically and sometimes emotionally neutral, e.g. doc: doctor; exam: examination. Also in proper names: Becky: Rebecca, Frisco: San Francisco, Japs: the Japanese. The missing part can at all times be supplied by the listener, so that the connection between the prototype and the short form is not lost.

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) the morphological structure of the prototype is regarded. 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 the 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 signaling 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. /11,45/

As a rule, but not necessarily, clipping follows the syllabic principle of word division, e.g. pep (sl.) `vigour', `spirit' from pepper, or plane from aeroplane. In other instances it may be quite an arbitrary part of the prototype, e.g. prep (school sl.) `homework' from preparation.

Unlike conversion, shortening produces new words in the same part of speech. The bulk of curtailed words are constituted by nouns. Verbs are hardly ever shortened in present-day English. Rev from revolve and tab from tabulate may be considered exceptions. Such clipped verbs as do, occur are in fact converted nouns. Consequently the verbs to perm, to phone, to taxi, to vac, to vet and many others are not curtailed words diachronically but may be regarded as such by right of structure, from the synchronic point of view. As to the verbs to pend, to mend, and to tend and few others, they were actually coined as curtailed words but not at the present stage of language development.

Shortened adjectives are very few and mostly reveal a combined effect of shortening and suffixation, e.g. comfy: comfortable, dilly: delightful, imposs: impossible, mizzy: miserable, which occur in schoolgirl slang. As an example of a shotrtened interjection Shun!: attention, the word of command may be mentioned.

The two well-known Americanisms jeep and okay may be mentioned. Jeep meaning `a small military motor vehicle' comes from g.p. ['di:'pi:] (the initials of general purpose). Okay, OK may be an illiterate misinterpretation of the initials in all correct. [11]

Our Kazakh scientists also had researched abbreviation. At the methodical magazine English for teachers, students, pupils and self-studied there was an article for Shortening words. The author is A. Yskakov.

To shorten words when you write them is a print variation. In abbreviations, we omit most of the letters and leave only enough - usually 2 or 3 letters for the word to be recognizable. Since these shortened forms save space and effort, they are nearly always made from expressions people use a lot.

Units for measuring are a well-known example `mph' for `miles per hour', `rpm' for `revolutions per minute', `sq.yd' for `square yard', and so on.

Time units also qualify, such as `sec' for `second', `min' for `minute', `hr' for `hour', `Nov' for `November' and so on. With units for measuring abbreviations are preferred if we also give a number. If we don't, the full forms are better `a mile per hour', '15 min' but `wait a minute', `24hr' but `every hour on the hour', `Nov 24' but `last November' and so forth.

Technical terms are another example `FM' for `frequency modulation', `EEC' for `electroencephalograph', `THC' for `tetrshydrocannabinol' and so on. Technical terms people can hardly pronounce are very likely to be abbreviated, as it `DDT' for `dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane'

Names of titles can also get abbreviated. `Mr' for `mister' (formely `master'), `Ms' for `miz' (a term replacing both `miss' and `missus'), `FBI' for `Federal Bureau of Investigation', `IBM' for `International Business Machines', `UC' for `University of California' & so on.

The longer a term or name is, and the more often people have to use it; the more likely it is to be abbreviated. Most abbreviations have a fixed form, and we may need to look them up in order to find the exact spelling.

Most abbreviations end with a period, especially if they might otherwise be confused with different words, such as `in' for `inch' as opposed to the preposition `in' meaning `inside'. If an abbreviation comes at the end of a sentence, you still put only one period. [4]

Present - day there are a great number of CD-books. One of them is Encyclopedia Britannica 2004. Abbreviation is communications (especially written) the process or result of representing a word or group of words by a shorter form of the word or phrase. Abbreviations take many forms and can be found in ancient Greek inscriptions, in medieval manuscripts. (e.g. DN for Dominus Noster) and in the Qur'an. Cicero's secretary, Marcus Tullius Tiro, devised many abbreviations that have survived to modern times, such as the character ampersand, &, for et (Latin `and'). Bur it was the so-called information explosion on the 20th century that made abbreviation a common practice in communication.

The development of abbreviations is the proliferation of new products and organizations that need to be named. Long descriptive terms can be shortened into mnemonic units.

The need for speed is shorthand and the desire to avoid redundancy in codes makes abbreviation an important element in stenography and cryptography as well.

There are several important forms of abbreviation. One form entails representing a single word either by its first letter or first few letters (as `n' for `noun' or `Co' for `company') by its most important letters (as `Ltd' for `Limited') or by its first and last letters (as `rd' for `road'). These abbreviations are usually, spoken as the whole word they represent (though Ltd. is sometimes spoken as el-tee-dee) /1,132/

Such English scientist as Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner are authors of a numerous dictionaries of English grammar. Also they paid attention to Abbreviation.

Shortened or contracted so that a part stands for the whole. Designating language or a clause or sentence in which words inessential to the message are omitted and the grammar sometimes deviates from standard rules.

This is a very general term, since individuals will vary in how severely they abridge and exactly how they do it, when, for example, writing diaries or making lecture notes for private use.

Abbreviated sentences of a more predictable kind are a frequent feature or informal writing and conversation. Here the subject and part of the verb are often omitted.

e.g. Having a wonderful time here

See you soon

All news then

More tea? (=Would you like?

Do you want?)

Abbreviated language overlaps with ellipsis, but has fewer rules. Moreover, there is no need for the missing words to be recoverable.

Labels and printed instructions, too, often use abbreviated language; and here not only subjects but objects also are typically omitted, e.g. Contains natural herb extracts. Avoid getting into the eyes.

Other forms of abbreviated language appear in titles, notices and newspaper headlines, e.g. Whole new maize and blue. [3]

1.2 Types of abbreviation

Kazakh scientist A.Yskakov divided shortening as shown below:

a) a string of letters - often spoken as such-formed from the initial letters of the (main) words of a phrase. Also called initialism.

BBC - British Broadcast Corporation

CBI - Confederation of British Industry

ERM - Exchange Rate Mechanism

OTT - over the top

PCW - personal computer word processor

UK - United Kingdom

Sometimes the letters represent syllables of a word

ID - identity or identification card

TB - tuberculosis

b) a word (sometimes called clipping) standing for the whole, retaining at least one syllable of the original word.

Ad - advertisement; Demo - demonstration; Flu - influenza; Pub - public house; Phone - telephone; Sitcom - situation comedy

There are a few special written conventions for plurals:

Pp - pages; Ff - following pages; Mss - manuscripts

Chemical formulae and other symbols can be regarded as a special type of abbreviation: H2O - water; Fe - iron; & - and; + - plus; - - minus [4]

By Sylvia Chalker Initialism is a type of abbreviation. The use of the initial letters of a name or expression as an abbreviation for it, each letter being pronounced separately, as in BBC, RSVP, RSPCA, etc.

Clipping is a type of abbreviation. The formation of a new word by shortening an existing one; an example of this. E.g. (omni)bus, exam(ination), (in)flu(enza), (tele)phone.

Syllabic abbreviation

A syllabic abbreviation is an abbreviation formed from (usually) initial syllables of several words, such as Interpol = International + police.

Syllabic abbreviations are usually written using lower case, sometimes starting with a capital letter, and are always pronounced as words rather than letter by letter.

Syllabic abbreviations should be distinguished from portmanteaus. /7,23/

1.3 Classifications of shortening

Russian scientist I.V.Arnold in his books classified shortening in such way. The generally accepted one is that based on the position of the clipped part. According to whether it is the final, initial or middle part of the word that is cut off we distinguish final clipping (or apocope (from Greek apokopto `cut off')), initial clipping (or aphesis, i.e. apheresis(from Greek aphaeresis `a taking away')) and medial clipping (or syncope (from Greek syncope `a cutting up')).

1. Final clipping in which the beginning of the prototype is retained, is practically the rule, and forms the bulk of the class: e.g. ad, advert: advertisement, coke: coca-cola, ed: editor, fab: fabulous, gym: gymnastics or gymnasium, lab: laboratory, mac: mackintosh, ref: referee, veg: vegetables, and many others.

2. Initial-clipped words retaining the final part of the prototype are less numerous but much more firmly established as separate lexical units with s meaning very different from that of the prototype and stylistically neutral doublets, e.g. cute adj, n (Am): acute, fend v: defend, mend v: amend, story n: history, sport n: disport, tend v: attend. Cases like cello: violoncello and phone: telephone where the curtailed words are stylistically synonyms or even variants of their respective prototypes are very rare. Neologisms are few: e.g. chute: parachute. It is in this group that the process of assimilation of loan words takes place.

3. Final and initial clipping may be combined and result in curtailed words with the middle part of the prototype retained. These are few and definitely colloquial: e.g. flu: influenza, frig or fridge: refrigerator, tec: detective. It is worthy of note that what is retained is the stressed syllable of the prototype. Curtailed words with the middle part of the word left out are equally few. They may be further subdivided into two groups:

(a) Words with a final-clipped stem retaining the functional morpheme: maths: mathematics, specs: spectacles;

(b) Contractions due to a gradual process of elision under the influence of rhythm and context. Thus fancy: fantasy, ma'am: madam may be regarded as accelerated forms. [10]

By Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner the scientists of Oxford apocope is:

1. the omission of a sound at the end of a word. This has happened historically in such words as lamb, damn, and happens currently in rapid or colloquial speech, e.g. you an(d) me, fish an(d) chips, cup o(f) tea. The more modern term covering this phenomenon is elision.

2. the omission of a syllable or syllabus at the end of a word. This has happened historically wih the loss since Old English times, of mny verb inflections (e.g. OE we lufodon, ME we loveden, we lovede, ModE we loved; OE sungen, ModE sung. Today it happens as a type of clipping (e.g. auto(mobile), des(irable), res(idence), long vac(ation), spag(hetti), blo(ognese) trad(itional). [14]

Aphaeresis is:

1. the omission of sound at the beginning of a word, regarded as a morphological development. The now pronounced sounds at the beginning of gnat, knight, psyche are examples.

2. the omission of a syllable at the beginning of a word, as routinely occurs in

a) contractions or b) clippings. E.g. a) I'll = I will, you've = you have.

b) (omni)bus, (tele)phone

Also Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner has such term as Aphesis in their Dictionary of Grammar, which isn't at the research work of Russian scientist I.V.Arnold.

The gradual loss of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word (e.g. of e- from esquire, giving squire)

It is a special form of the phonetic process called aphaeresis, for which, from its frequency in the history of the English language, a distinctive name is useful.

This term, which was introduced by J.A.H.Murray, editor of the New English Dictionary, (the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary) in 1880, was used in the diachronic study of English; in phonetics the phenomenon it covers would be treated as an aspect of elision. [9]

II. Specific groups of shortening

2.1 Blending

By I.V.Arnold there is a specific group that has attracted special attention of several authors and was even given several different names: blends, blending, fusions or portmanteau words. The last term is due to Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. One of the most linguistically conscious writers, he made a special technique of using blends coined by himself, such as chortle v = chuckle + short, mimsy adj = miserable + flimsy, galumph v = gallop + triumph, slithy a< slimy+lithe.1 Humpty Dumpty explaining these words to Alice says You see it's like a portmanteau -- there are two meanings packed up into one word. Blends may be defined as formations that combine two words and include the letters or sounds they have in common as a connecting element. [see Appendix 4]

Blends, although not very numerous altogether, seem to be on the rise, especially in terminology and also in trade advertisements.

Comparing with this we can write the definition which is shown in the Oxford Dictionary of Grammar. Blending - a word, phrase or construction formed by the merging of parts of two other linguistic elements.

a) morphology. Examples of lexical blends (also called blend words, word blends) are:

bit = binary + digit

brunch = breakfast + lunch [see Appendix 3]

b) syntactic blends include such structures as I would have liked to have done it. = I would have liked to do it + I would like to have done it.

e.g. Neither claim impressed us, nor seemed genuine. = Neither claim impressed us or seemed genuine + The claims neither impressed us nor seemed genuine.

I do not dare, refuse = (modal) I dare not refuse + (ordiary verb) I do not dare to refuse. /12,19/

2.2 Acronym

Acronyms by I.V.Arnold

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 latter often pass into oral speech and become widely used in conversation.

During World War I and after it 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 organisations and officials not only by their full titles but by initial abbreviations derived from writing. Later the trend became even more pronounced, e. g. the USSR, the U.N., the U.N.O., MP. The tendency today is to omit full stops between the letters: GPO (General Post Office). Some abbreviations nevertheless appear in both forms: EPA and E.P.A. (Environment Protection Agency). Such words formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts of a phrasal term have two possible types of orthoepic correlation between written and spoken forms.

1. If the abbreviated written form lends itself to be read as though it were an ordinary English word and sounds like an English word, it will be read like one. The words thus formed are called acronym.(from Gr acros- `end'+onym `name'). This way of forming new words is becoming more and more popular in almost all fields of human activity, and especially in political and technical vocabulary:

e.g. U.N.O., also UNO ['ju:nou] -- United Nations Organisation;

NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation;

SALT--Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.

The last example shows that acronyms are often homonymous to ordinary words; sometimes intentionally chosen so as to create certain associations. Thus, for example, the National Organisation for Women is called NOW. Typical of acronymic coinages in technical terminology are:

e.g. 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;

radar -- for radio detection and ranging.

Acronyms became so popular that their number justified the publication of special dictionaries, such as D.D. Spencer's Computer Acronym Handbook (1974).

2. The other subgroup consists of initial abbreviation with the alphabetical reading retained, i.e. pronounced as a series of letters. They also retain correlation with prototypes. The examples are well-known:

B.B.C. ['bi:'bi:'si:] -- the British Broadcasting Corporation;

G.I. ['di: `ai] -- for Government Issue,

P.M. stands for Prime Minister.

S.O.S. ['es'ou'es]--Save Our Souls;

T.V. or TV I'ti:'vi:] -- television;

Y.C.L. ['wai'si:'el] -- the Young Communist League.

A specific type of abbreviations having no parallel in Russian is represented by Latin abbreviations which sometimes are not read as Latin words but substituted by their English equivalents. A few of the most important cases are:

A.D. (Lat Anno Domini) - in the year of our Lord;

a.m. (Lat ante meridiem) -- in the morning'; [see Appendix 2]

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. ['di:'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 (Wyndham).

It must be emphasised that initial abbreviation, no less than other types of shortening, retains the valency, i.e. the combining possibilities of the prototypes. The difference in distribution is conditioned only by a change of meaning (lexical or more rarely lexico-grammatical). Abbreviations receive the plural and

Possessive case inflections: G.I.'s, M.P.'s, P.O.W.'s (from prisoner of war), also the verb paradigm: okays, okayed, okaying. E. g. A hotel's no life for you... Why don't you come and P.G. with me? (A. Wilson) Here P.G. is an abbreviation for paying guest. Like all nouns they can be used attributively: BBC television, TV program, UN vote. [6]

In the Internet there is such site as Wictionary. It's the largest web dictionary. The term Acronym is the type of lexical abbreviation.

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, 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. (e.g. I vote for Uncle Earl.)

It appears that there are no hard and fast rules for using periods in either acronyms or abbreviations. More and more, newspapers and journals seem to drop the periods: NAACP, NCAA, etc. Consistency, obviously, is important. [Wictionary]

Comparing with the definition written below, we define Acronym by Sylvia Chalker.


1. Strictly a word formed from

a) The initial letters of other words

b) A mixture of initials and syllables.

E.g. a) NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NIMBY - not in my back yard

TINY - there is no alternative

b) radar - radio detection and ranging

yuppie - young urban professional + diminutive ending

Sometimes included in the general term abbreviation.

2. More loosely, an abbreviation pronounced as a string of letters, especially letters that stand for the name of an organization or institution, e.g. BBC, USA.

This usage may be due to the fact that the specific form for this type of abbreviation (initialism) is not widely known. [15]

2.3 Ideogram

A written character symbolizing a word or phrase without indicating its pronunciation. Ideograms are rather marginal to the English writing system, but include numerals; hallmarks;

monetary symbols: US$- United States dollar, x - UK pound sterling;

musical notation: n - key - crotchet; - flat, - sharp;

proof-correction symbols:?- correct, - insert full or decimal point;

meteorological symbols:- rain, - hail, - lightning;

mathematical symbols:; - infinity, - plus or minus;

symbols in set theory: h - is an element of: xhA;

logic symbols: - conjunction, - NOR;

graphic symbols: - connection of conductors, - terminal (circle or may be fiiled)

graphical symbols used in electronics: - variability (noninherent);

Greek letters used as symbol for physical quantities: -alpha, - sigma;

miscellaneous symbols: @-at (in commerce), -copyright;

accents, diacritical marks and special letters: ?- accent hacek,? -accent accute; /2,98/

2.4 Contract

Shorten (a word, syllable, etc) by omitting or combining some elements. E.g. ain't. A contracted form of are not, used also for am not, in the popular dialect of London and elsewhere.


1. The action of shortening a word, a syllable, etc. by omitting or combining some elements (especially a vowel or vowels)

2. A shortened form of a word that can be attached to another word the two words together. Also called abbreviated form, contracted form or short form.

Thus, both `m and I'm are described as contraction. Other contractions in English are: `s, `re, `ve, `d, `ll, n't (= is/has, are, have, had/would, will, not)

[see Appendix 1]

By Kazakh scholar A. Ysakov Contractions are made by putting an apostrophe in place of the letters left out as in can't for `can not', I'd for `I would', she's for `she is'. Some very common verbs often get tacked onto the end of pronouns to make constructions: is & has become -'s, are becomes -'re, have becomes -'ve, would and had become -'d, will becomes -'ll & so on. Also, `not' becomes n't when you tack it onto something `did not' - didn't, `should not' - shouldn't & so on. All these shortened versions are particularly popular in everyday usage.

The apostrophe is also use for possessives words showing who or what something belongs to - either before the final -s or if the word already ends in -s then after the -s: Sue's roommate, but Carlos' brother and all the guys' cars

Of course, there's a danger of mixing up constructions with possessives. The word it's is short for it is, and is not the possessive its. Think of his which nobody writes with an apostrophe. And you can remember that the possessive its also has no apostrophe. [see Application 1]

III. Practical part

Cyber-English for informal text messages, chat room chatting

The longer a term or name is, and the more often people have to use it; the more likely it is to be abbreviated.

The objective of textese is to use the fewest number of characters needed to convey a comprehensible message. Hence, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization are largely ignored.

The dialect has a few hieroglyphs (codes comprehensible to initiates) and a range of face symbols.

According to a study, though it is faster to write it takes more time to read than normal English.

According to research done by Dr.Nanagh Kemp of University of Tasmania, the evolution of `textese' is inherently coupled to a strong grasp of grammar and phonetics.


Auxiliary verbs, articles, pronouns and prepositions are often left out. For example:

u gonna come with us? = Are you going to come with us?

am in a meeting @ the mo = I am in a meeting at the moment

given Baz book = I've given Baz the book

should arrive Tues = I should arrive on Tuesday

The negative social implications of texting have been outlined; such as a harmful change in student academia, colloquialisms that have been regarded as normal language, (`LOL', `L8', `CYA') the disregard of face to face communication and bullying that has taken place through text messaging.

An article in The New Yorker explores how text messaging has Americanized some of the world's languages with English. The use of diacritical marks is dropped in languages such as French, as well as symbols in Ethiopian language. In his book, Txtng: the Gr8 Db8, David Crystal says: Texters in alleleven languages use lol, u, brb, and gr8, all English-based shorthands. American popular culture is also recognized in shorthand.

Text devices

Single letters can be used to replace words. Examples include:

be becomes b

see becomes c

are becomes r

you becomes u

why becomes y

Equally, single digits can be used to replace words. Examples include:

ate becomes 8

for becomes 4

to, too, or two becomes 2

Individual syllables can be replaced with a single letter or digit. Examples:

ate becomes 8, so:

activate becomes activ8

great becomes gr8

mate becomes m8

later becomes l8r

plate becomes pl8

be becomes b

for or Fore becomes 4, so:

before becomes (combining both of the above) b4

therefore becomes there4

More miscellaneous adaptations of characters include:

ss being replaced with $

oo being replaced with %

Combinations of the above can be used to shorten single or multiple words. Examples: your and you are both become ur Other transcriptions of slang or dialect terms can be used if they are shorter than the original. A good example of this is the way in which because, often pronounced as cos in English, is written like so, saving four characters.

Another device used in text language is the removal of vowels from a verb, such that a set of consonants remain, which should still be recognisable as a word. So, between could become btwn.

Equally, whole words may be omitted, especially articles.

Another device used, is the replacement of an 'orr' with the abbreviation 'oz'. Hence Sorry would become Soz and Tomorrow would become Tomoz. This can be further abbreviated into 2moz.

'Sorry I forgot to phone you. I will see you tomorrow'

...would become...

soz i 4gt 2 fon u.i c u 2moz

The use of punctuation is limited. Only full-stops and exclamation marks are ever used in general. After a full stop, a space and capital letter is often omitted.

There are a number of txt abbreviations which are commonly recognised (these are not to be confused with initialisms, which are also commonly used):

Examples wuu2 - What are you up to?

yw - you're welcome

Text messaging translations can are easily made both to and from English as sampled below. Short messages can be made shorter still.

Are you going to the pub tonight? becomes ru goin pub 2nyt

Longer messages may also be considerably shortened. A typical text message might read: hi m8 u k?-sry i 4gt 2 cal u lst nyt-y dnt we go c film 2moz

This is 60 characters long.

This would "translate" into standard English as so:

Hi mate. Are you okay? I am sorry that I forgot to call you last night. Why don't we go and see a film tomorrow?

This is 112 characters long.


Textese is a dialect of English that subverts letters and numbers to produce ultra-concise words and sentiments. The invention of mobile phone messages may be considered as its source, although elliptical styles of writing dating back to at least the days of telegraphese. There are no standard rules for writing SMS languages, and a lot of words can also be shortened, such as "text" then turns into "txt". Words can also be combined with numbers to make them shorter, such as "later" turns into "l8r". Its speed in which they can be written and helps in using fewest number of letters, and helps in dealing with space constraints of text messaging.

Textese (also known as chatspeak, txt, txtspk, txtk, texting language or txt talk) is the English language slang used in mobile phone SMS, social networks and instant messaging. It is an abbreviated form of English similar to a rebus. With predictive text input increasingly being used, it is becoming less common. This type of language does not always obey or follow standard English grammar; furthermore, the words used in the writing system may not be found in standard dictionaries.

Cyber-English is that Internet and mobile phone users have popularized. It often originates with the purpose of saving keystrokes, and saving time.

3.2 The types of abbreviations on the newspaper The USA today

A major factor in the trend toward abbreviation is that of economy. Journalistic abbreviations are often occasioned by a desire to economise head-line space. In telegraphy; e.g. as well as computerized communications, the extra-time, space, and materials required for rendering long words and phrases is an important concern. Fortunately, redundancy of information exists in all speech, and this redundancy increases dramatically if the context is not known or if the message is long. Scientific studies indicate that up to 75percent of all information in relatively long communications is redundant, and this knowledge makes abbreviation not only possible but convenient.

The American newspaper The USA today is the weekly edition printed in New York, USA. We searched the Fri-Mon, august 29-sept.1, 2008 issue. This newspaper consists of 4 parts; each part is 12-18 pages. Most of the abbreviations are the names of international stocks, e-mail addresses; they depend on to one type of the abbreviations and one word repeats some times.

At first we should give the definition to abbreviation and classify it. In abbreviations, we omit most of the letters and leave only enough - usually 2 or 3 letters for the word to be recognizable. Since these shortened forms save space and effort, they are nearly always made from expressions people use a lot. There 4 types of shortening:

- Orthographical - the orthographical shortening of the word or a word phrase. The missing part can at all times be supplied by the listener, speaker, and reader. e.g. N-north, Mon - Monday

- Lexical. There are 4 types of lexical abbreviation:

1. initials e.g. BTN - Big Ten Network NY - New York State

2.acronyms e.g. BOSE - better sound through research LED - light-emitting diode

3.clippings e.g. mpg - miles per gallon Mph - mile per hour

4.blendings e.g. Cellphone - cellular telephone; Sportcaster - sport broadcaster

5. Contractions as: she's, he'd, it's and others [see Appendix 1]

- hybrid divided on to 3:

1. acronym and initial are in one word e.g. NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration;

2. a half acronym and a half initial word e.g. ABC - alphabet; television channel

Washington D.C. - Washington District of Columbia

3. mixing of letters and numbers e.g. 1A-12D number of pages; 3yrs - three years

- and graphical e.g. $ - monetary symbol of US dollar; & - and (ampersand);

We've found out more than 90 abbreviations. Orthographical 23, lexical 29, hybrid 24, graphical 8 [see Appendix 5]

Orthographical abbreviation. One form entails representing a single word either by its first letter (as `N' for `north') by its or by its first syllable (as `No' for `number').

Most of the abbreviations are lexical. We have said that there are 4 types of lexical abbreviations.

1. Initials. The use of the initial letters of a name or expression as an abbreviation for it, each letter being pronounced separately, as in BBC. Also it called alphabetically. Most of the shortenings are of this type. There are

2. Acronym. It has some variants too.

a. by first letters of the word

b. by combining syllables of each word.

c. combine form, i.e. the first letter of the first word and the full meaning of the second one.

Economic section connected with money, stock exchange. There are such abbreviations which depend to economy and may be read only by financiers.

[see Appendix 6] All of them are orthographical shortenings.

3.3 The modern type of shortening to abbreviate the telephone numbers

Abbreviating the telephone numbers means to write the letters instead of the numbers. Not just a simple series of letters, to combine the whole word instead of the appropriate number. At a phone number there are a lot of digits which are very difficult to memorize.


1-800-THE LOST



1-800-GO STIHL

1-877-LAND WYO


To dial such number is very easy. At the phones on each button is letters in alphabetical order.

They are:

1 - punctuation marks;

2 - A, B, C;

3 - D, E, F;

4 - G, H, I;

5 - J, K, L;

6 - M, N, O;

7 - P, Q, R, S;

8 - T, U, V;

9 - W, X, Y, Z;

0 - gap

This is in advertisement trick to made people easily memorize a company's, shops', TV-channels' and other innumerous organizations' phone numbers. It's very popular in America. Because its industrialization, civilization developed. Every man has a mobile phone in his pocket. That's why this style popularized. Also they choose such series of numbers to be the word appropriate to their subject. E.g. at this number 1-800-THE LOST' they find lost people.

This number 877-LAND WYO is a tourist company which offers summer vacation in Wyoming State.


The work itself us to conclude that we have reached the main aim, which we had researched in the work: we distinctively explored the theme that we had Shortening of English language: causes and tendencies, analyzed and marked all the ways and particularities, causes and tendencies and gave the general characteristics to shortened units.

To reach our aim we have defined the functions of shortened lexical units; analyzed the existing categorizations and types of the abbreviations; made the analytical review of the cyber-English, the types of shortening in the newspaper and the new modern style of abbreviating the telephone numbers. 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 shortening is very useful in the society. We face to them on the newspapers, advertisements, street posters, magazines, periodicals, television, radio all of them are the mass media and of course at everyday communication.

The abbreviation is very wide theme to investigate; it has many types and tendencies for today. The shortening in cyber English, exactly text-messages, and shortening in the newspaper were the most interesting and new theme for us. We did a great investigation work to make a term paper. 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.


1. Encyclopedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe CD-version

2. Oxford dictionary of abbreviations. Oxford University press, NY, 1998

3. Oxford dictionary of English Grammar. Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner. Oxford University Press. NY, 2004

4. Shortening words ( ) A. Yskakov // English, 2003 23-31 Jan. 4

5. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe youth in the Unece Region: realities, challenges, opportunities. - Geneva and NY, 2003


7. - . English-Russian dictionary of modern abbreviations. , ., 2002

8. ., . International Herald tribune - ? //? = . - 2006. - 5 21-23

9. .. , .. . - . - ., , 1974

10. .. . - ., , 1973

11. .. . - ., - ., 1973

12. .. . -: - , 2005

13. .. Shortening// M 볔. - 2008 - 2 47-50

14. . . ., 1958

15. , , . , ., 1964

16. .. . . ( ). - ., , 1977

abbreviation shortening lexical abbreviate


Appendix 1

The most common shortened contractions.

aren't = are not

can't = cannot

couldn't = could not

didn't = did not

doesn't = does not

don't = do not

hadn't = had not

haven't = have not

hasn't = has not

he'd = he had / should / would

he'll = he will

he's = he is / has

here's = here is / has

I'd = I had / should / would

I'll = I shall / will

I'm = I am

I've = I have

isn't = is not

it'll = it will

it's = it is / has

let's = let us

mayn't = may not

mightn't = might not

mustn't = must not

shan't = shall not

she'd = she had / should / would

she'll = she will

she's = she is / has

shouldn't = should not

that'll = that will

that's = that is

there's = there is / has

they'd = they had / should / would

they'll = they will

they're = they are

they've = they have

wasn't = was not

we'd = we had / should / would

we'll = we shall / will

we're = we are

weren't = were not

we've = we have

what's = what is

won't = will not

wouldn't = would not

you'd = you had / should / would

you'll = you will

you're = you are

you've = you have

Appendix 2

Latin abbreviations

AD (anno Domini) (indicating years numbered from the supposed year of the birth of Christ)

a.m. - (ante meridiem) in the morning

ad lib (ad libitum) -- at pleasure;

a priori - in advance, independently of experience;

B.C - (before Christ) - before our era;

cf. (conferre) - compare;

cp. (comparare) -- compare;

circa - about, approximately;

e.g. (exempli gratia) - for example;

etc ( Et cetera) - and so on;

ib (id) (Lat. ibidem) -- in the same place;

i.e. (id est)- that is;

in situ - at this place;

loc.cit. (locus citato) -- in the passage cited;

N.B. - (nota bene) - note, comments;

ob. (obiit) --he (she) died;

q.v. (quod vide) -- which see;

p.m. (post meridiem) -- in the afternoon;

pro et con (pro et contra) - for and against;

terra incognita - unknown area;

vers, vs (versus) - against;

vice versa - because of smth, on the contrary, back to front;

viz (videlicet) -- namely, sometimes read viz.;

Appendix 3


& - and

@ - at

0 - nothing

2 - two, to, too

2DAY - today

2nite - tonight

4 - for

a - a / an

a/noon - afternoon

ATB - All the best

Asl - age, sex, location,

b - be

b4 - before

bc - because

bf - boyfriend

bk - back

bro - brother

bt - but

btw - By the way

c - see

d8 - date

dnr - dinner

ez - easy

f8 - fate

gf - girlfriend

gr8 - great

hols - holidays

hv - have

I - I, it

its - it is

kds - kids

l8 - late

l8r - later

m8 - mate

ne1 - anyone

plz - please

ps - parents

qt - cutie

r - are

sis - sister

skul - school

smmr - summer

u - you

wr - were

asap - as soon as possible

bau - business as usual

brb - I'll be right back

btw - by the way

cul - see you later

cwot - complete waste of time

ftf - face to face

fyi - for your information

gmta - great minds think alike

gonna - going to

goin - going

HAND - have a nice day

hru - how are you

icbw - it could be worse

Idk - I don't know

imho - in my humble opinion

jk - just kidding

kotc - kiss on the cheek

LOL - laughing out loud

l8r - later

ltnc - long time no see

ILU, Luv U - I love you

Luv U2 - I love you too

Mo - moment

mon - the middle of nowhere

mte - my thoughts exactly

MU - I miss you

mUsm - I miss you so much

NP - no problem

oIc - oh, I see

PC&QT - peace and quiet

pcm - please call me

rotfl - rolling on the floor laughing

sth - something

RSVP - repondez, s'il vous plait

RUOK - are you ok?

TUVM - thank you very much

TTFN - ta ta for now

Tnx, tnqu - thank you

U4e - you forever

Ur - your/ you are

UROK - you are okay

wanna - want to

wuciwug - what you see is what you get

XLNT - exellent

X, XOX - kiss, kiss hug kiss

:-) smiling

:-* kiss

:-)) very happy

:-0 shocked

:") blushing

:-|:-| deja vu

<:3 )~ mouse

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