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‘LOL’, ‘OMG’ and Other Acronyms and Abbreviations: A study in the creation of initialisms
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Marchand (1969) claims that abbreviations and acronyms, which are also known as ‘initialisms’, are used to create “names of new scientific discoveries, trade-names, names of organizations, new foundations or offices, but occasionally, and chiefly in American English, personal and geographical names are also coined in this way” (Marchand, 1969: 452). However, initialisms that originate from netspeak, such as ‘LOL’, are different from the initialisms Marchand (1969) describes. These initialisms are not names of organizations or scientific discoveries; rather, they describe everyday things or phases. This kind of initialism is a new phenomenon that seemingly did not exist before the Internet, and the aim of this essay is thus to examine whether Internet has given us increased opportunities for this type of word formation. A corpus of informal English was created for this study and ten initialisms were extracted from that corpus. These initialisms were then examined in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. The data from the COCA showed that people do form and use this kind of initialism, albeit they do it very infrequently. Furthermore, the corpus data showed that these items are used in all different genres that exist in the COCA, except for academic writing. The data found in this study indicates that people seem create a new kind of initialism, and that people therefore have new opportunities to use this kind of word formation. However, the data is too sparse to draw any definite conclusions from it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 27 p.
Keyword [en]
Morphology, acronyms, abbreviations, initialisms, slang, corpus linguistics, the Internet, netspeak
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87174OAI: diva2:601211
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2014-01-22Bibliographically approved

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