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Clipping in a cross-linguistic perspective
Team member David Correia Saavedra
   
Abstract This project studies shortened words such as 'prof' for 'professor' or 'exam' for examination. In linguistics, these words are known as clippings. How do speakers coin new clipped words? Why do speakers of English shorten 'laboratory' to 'lab', while speakers of French shorten 'laboratoire' to 'labo'? These questions have not received full answers in existing linguistic work. The research in this project will try to uncover the regularities that underlie speakers' behavior when they produce shortened variants of existing words. Based on a large database of shortened words in English and French, the project will create a computational model that allows us to understand what factors play a role in clipping. The point of departure for this research is the hypothesis that clipping follows predictable tendencies, that these tendencies can be described statistically, and that the features of that model can be explained in terms of psychological and linguistic factors. In order to test the validity of this model, the project will carry out experimental studies in which speakers will be asked to shorten existing words. The performance of the statistical model will be compared systematically to what the speakers do. This comparison will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of how clipping works as a linguistic phenomenon.
   
Keywords morphology; clipping; corpus linguistics; construction grammar; word formation; psycholinguistics
   
Type of project Fundamental research project
Research area Linguistics
Method of financing FNS
Status Ongoing
Start of project 1-1-2020
End of project 31-12-2023
Overall budget 594'646.00
Contact Martin Hilpert