A study of contemporary abbreviation usage in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A study of contemporary abbreviation usage in Hong Kong


Author: Reddel, Suzanne
Title: A study of contemporary abbreviation usage in Hong Kong
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1996
Subject: English language -- China -- Hong Kong -- Morphology
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: vii, 96, [93] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1246523
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/3488
Abstract: Verbal abbreviation involves shortening of a word or words, written or spoken, by omission of letter/s or sound/s. All abbreviation involves either contraction (deletion from within a word) or truncation (deletion from word extremities). Abbreviated words, occasionally featuring changes in spelling or pronunciation, may be combined with each other or with other words to form phrases, compounds or new words. Information gathered from research, analysis of a sample local newspaper and investigation of local abbreviation practice presents a picture of abbreviation in frequent use in Hong Kong and in virtually all contexts. There appear to be two major reasons for using abbreviation. One is to save time or space, both important considerations in local society. The other is to compress complex concepts and terms into manageable and pronounceable units, again an important consideration in this bilingual community. However abbreviation usage is frequently accompanied by abbreviation over-use and misuse. Overuse occurs when the proportion of abbreviated to unabbreviated words renders an item unintelligible because of insufficient retrievable context. Misuse occurs in a number of ways but principally when the creators of new non-standard abbreviations disregard normal abbreviation procedures and conventional use of abbreviation markers, or when abbreviators ignore the convention of supplying the full form of an abbreviation when it is first used. However it should be possible to at least partially rectify these problems through education and intervention.

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