Apocopation

From Academic Kids

A apocopation is a type of metaplasm that refers to a word formed by removing the end of a longer original word. Similar concepts include aphaeresis, which removes the beginning part of a word, and syncope, which removes part of the middle.

The word apocopation is derived from the Greek, apo (to cut) and koptein (away from).

Usage

Some languages have apocopations internalized as mandatory forms. In Spanish, for example, many adjectives that come before the noun lose the final vowel when they precede a noun in the masculine singular form. The word uno (one) thus becomes un and grande (big) becomes gran. In these cases, one would say un mundo (one world) rather than uno mundo, and gran taco (big taco) rather than grande taco.

In many languages, apocopation is also used to form shorter synonyms of a word, which becomes a sort of spoken abbreviation the word. For example, the French réac is used as short for réactionnaire, and démo means démonstration. Shortened forms for names are common in Japanese: Makudonarudo (McDonald's) becomes Makudo, and Kentaki Furaido Chikin (or Kentucky Fried Chicken) is referred to as Kenfuraido in daily speech.

Apocopation is also used regularly to from diminutives of names. Some English examples:

  • Alexander → Alex
  • Andrew → Andy
  • Meghan or Megan → Meg
  • Thomas → Tom

And German examples: (note the difference)

  • Susanne → Sanne
  • Maria → Ria
  • Vanessa → Nessi

For a list of apocopations in the English language, see List of English apocopations.

See also

it:Apocope nl:Apocope

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