[Ads-l] query on -s truncation

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Wed May 27 19:43:14 UTC 2015

Wilson beat me to it--I had come up with Babs, and was racking by brain looking for more. 

I think this 's' counts as a hypocoristic, a poor cousin of '-y'. I don't have access to a handy English morphology text, but I think there are other examples not involving names, but preceding our era. There is, for example, 'preggers' and similar. 

What astounded me is its (Aussie) use in Bazz (Lerman). Although I can't confirm this, I had understood /baez/ was an example of this kind of shortening, based on 'Barry'. What makes this weird is the marginal status of /ae/ as an open syllable in standard English--much ink has been spilled on that topic (which affects the debate about whether that vowel is tense or lax (or short or long, if you prefer)). 

Geoffrey S. Nathan 
Faculty Liaison, C&IT 
and Professor, Linguistics Program 
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT) 

Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks. 

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 3:23:01 PM
> Subject: Re: query on -s truncation

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: query on -s truncation
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 12:14 PM, Laurence Horn
> <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:

> > Seems like I vaguely recall something on this but I can't remember
> > what.

> Lars,

> At one of the summer LSA's - '73? '74? - it was hip to do that with
> proper
> names, whether of people or of animals. Everyone is familiar with
> Barbara >
> Babs, of course. But, in this particular case, everything began with
> the
> S-ing of the name of Jim Fidelholtz's dog - which name I've
> forgotten. Jim
> > Jims, Ivan > Ives, Wilson > Wil[s], Robert > Robs/Bobs, etc. Ivan
> > and I
> continued as Ives and Wil[s] with each other to the very end.

> --
> -Wil[s]
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain

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

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

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