Shortenings are coined in two different ways. The first is to make a new word from a syllable of the original word (clipping). The latter may lose its beginning (as in phone made from telephone, fence from defence), its ending (as in hols from holidays, vac from vacation, props from properties, ad from advertisement) or both the beginning and ending (as in flu from influenza, fridge from refrigerator). The second way of shortening is to make a new word from the initial letters of a word group (acronymy or initial abbreviation), e.g.. UNO from the United Nations Organisation, BBC from the British Broadcasting Corporation, MP from Member of Parliament.
Clippings are derived from single words, though sometimes they may be derived from phrases. One component of a phrase is omitted. Clipping means taking away any part of the word. The remaining part of the word which may be neither a morpheme, nor even a syllable acquires all the properties of a regular word. e.g.. He spoke to the vet's wife.
There are three structural types of clippings: Aphaeresis - initial part of the word is clipped, e.g.. history-story, telephone-phone:
Syncope - the middle part of the word is clipped, e.g.. madam- ma 'am: Apocope - the final part of the word is clipped, e.g.. professor-prof editored, vampire-vamp:
Sometimes a combination of some types of clipping may occur: Aphere-sis-syncope. e.g.. influenza-flu. detective-tec.
Clipping is a source of new morphemes in English and clipping may serve as word-building basis, e.g.. taxi - to taxi, taxi-driver, taxidancer. airtaxi. taxitest.
Clipping can be combined with derivation and composition, e.g.. chinee. comfy, labassistant.
Semantic Peculiarities of Clipping
Polysemantic words are usually clipped in one meaning only. e.g.. doc and doctor have the meaning "one who practices medicine", but doctor is also "the highest degree given by a university to a scholar or scientist". Clippings can develop a system of meanings of their own. e.g., fancy. Among abbreviations there are homonyms, so that one and the same sound and graphical complex may represent different words, e.g.. vac - vacation/vacuum
cleaner, prep - preparation/preparatory school, vet - veterinary surgeon/veteran.
Stylistic Peculiarities of Clippings
Clippings are highly colloquial and it is quite common to encounter them in spoken English, e.g.. TV. paper. PC. maths, bike, photo, sales rep. Most of such words are stylistically neutral.
In Modem English clippings are part of professional vocabulary because they represent terms in some scientific spheres. E.g.: ACD-solution (ACID CITRATE DEXTROSE).
In modem English there appear colloquial expressions such as catch-22 which was taken from the novel "CATCH-22" written by G. HELLER. It functions in the meaning "an uphill task", e.g.. It's a catch-22, I need experience to get a job and I need a job to get experience.