[Ads-l] query on -s truncation

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 27 19:03:16 UTC 2015

On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 1:03 PM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>> On May 27, 2015, at 9:14 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
>> A colleague off-list wonders if anything has been published on the
>> truncation process described by one of her students, who is working on
>> them, as
>> "-s truncation of adjectives and adverbs by younger speakers, yielding
>> for example 'totes', 'awks', 'adorbs', from 'totally', 'awkward',
>> 'adorable', etc."
>> Seems like I vaguely recall something on this but I can't remember
> what. Anyone?
> a little bit on on my blog, with references to ADS-L:
> http://arnoldzwicky.org/2013/12/31/amaze/

At the 2014 ADS conference in Minneapolis, there was a relevant paper
by Sravana Reddy, Joy Zhong, and James Stanford, "A Twitter-Based
Study of Newly Formed Clippings in American English." The paper is
discussed here:


That paper followed up on Kenny Baclawski's 2012 LSA poster
presentation, "A Frequency-Based Analysis of the Modern -s Register-
Marking Suffix," summarized here:


See also Mark Liberman's Language Log post on a recent paper by Lauren
Spradlin, "_OMG the Word-Final Alveopalatals are Cray-Cray Prev_: A
Morphophonological Account of _Totes_ Constructions in English":


A few other items of interest:

"Totes presh," Erin McKean, Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 2011

"Totes Cray-Cray Abbrevs," Ben Yagoda, Lingua Franca (Chronicle blog),
Jan. 20, 2012

"Why all the cray-cray words?" Elizabeth "Libsies" Withey, Edmonton
Journal, Dec. 18, 2013


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list