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ing. Confusion and ambiguousness are quite natural consequences of the modern overabundance of shortened words, and initial shortenings are often especially enigmatic and misleading.

Both types of shortenings are characteristic of informal speech in general and of uncultivated speech particularly. The history of the American okay seems to be rather typical. Originally this initial shortening was spelt O.K. and was supposed to stand for all correct. The purely oral manner in which sounds were recorded for letters resulted in O.K. whereas it should have been AC. or aysee. Indeed, the ways of words are full of surprises.

Here are some more examples of informal shortenings. Movie (from moving-picture), gent (from gentleman), specs (from spectacles), circs (from circumstances, e. g. under the circs), I. O. Y. (a written acknowledgement of debt, made from I owe you), lib (from liberty, as in May I take the lib of saying something to you?), cert (from certainty, as in This enterprise is a cert if you have a bit of capital), metrop (from metropoly, e. g. Paris is a gay metrop), exhibish (from exhibition), posish (from position).

Undergraduates' informal speech abounds in words of the type: exam, lab, prof, vac, hol, co-ed (a girl student at a coeducational school or college).

Some of the Minor Types of Modern Word-Building. Sound-Imitation (Onomatopoeia1)

Words coined by this interesting type of word-building are made by imitating different kinds of sounds that may be produced by animals, birds, insects, human beings and inanimate objects.

1 [onemaete'pie]. This type of word-formation is now also called echoism (the term was introduced by O. Jespersen).


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