Shortenings: Clipping

examinationexam (ination)
laboratorylab (oratory)
telephone(tele) phone
advertisementad (vertisement)
professorprof (fessor)
doctordoc (tor)
influenza(in flu enza)

The term clipping already suggests that this word-formation process produces new words by simply cutting of parts of existing words. Within the process of shortening, clipping is very productive as it can be applied to a range of words. As visualized in the chart above, the most common form of clipping is back clipping, i.e. the back part of the word is clipped off. Much rarer are the cases of fore clipping, i.e. the beginning of a word is omitted, and middle clipping, which eliminates the beginning as well as the end.

From a sociolinguistic perspective, the usage of clippings is often restricted to a particular social group within society. In youth language, but also in expert language, the use of clippings displays a speakerís familiarity with the subject matter as well as it expresses and strengthens the speakerís belonging into a certain social group.

An everyday use of clipping can be found in the fairly common process of truncation. Truncation describes the process of shortening names. As mentioned above, these clippings suggest a speaker's familiarity with the person whose name is truncated.

Here, a few examples of truncation:

PatriciaPat (ricia)
EdwardEd (ward)
SusanSu(e) (san)
Elizabeth(E)Liz (abeth)