Blends deal with the action of abridging and then combining various lexemes to form a new word. However, the process of defining which words are true blends and which are not is more complicated. The difficulty comes in determining which parts of a new word are "recoverable" (have roots which can be distinguished).
There are many types of blends, based on how they are formed. Algeo, a linguist, proposed dividing blends into three groups:
- Phonemic Overlap: a syllable or part of a syllable is shared between two words
- Clipping: the shortening of two words and then compounding them
- Phonemic Overlap and Clipping: shortening of two words to a shared syllable and then compounding
Most blends are formed by one of the following methods:
- The beginning of one word is added to the end of the other (see portmanteau). For example, brunch is a blend of breakfast and lunch.
- The beginnings of two words are combined. For example, cyborg is a blend of cybernetic and organism.
- Two words are blended around a common sequence of sounds. For example, the word Californication, from a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a blend of California and fornication, and the word motel is a blend of motor and hotel
- Multiple sounds from two component words are blended, while mostly preserving the sounds' order. Poet Lewis Carroll was well known for these kinds of blends. An example of this is the word slithy, a blend of lithe and slimy.
A blended word may undergo further modification in form or meaning over time, and the meanings of its parts can become obsolete. Malinger may have developed from a blend in old French of malade (ill), maigre (meager) and haingre (haggard). When two words are combined in their entirety, the result is considered a compound word rather than a blend. For example, bagpipe is a compound, not a blend, of bag and pipe.
Blending of two roots
Blending can also apply to roots rather than words, for instance in Israeli Hebrew. "Israeli דחפור dakhpór ‘bulldozer’ hybridizes (Mishnaic Hebrew>>)Israeli דחפ √dħp ‘push’ and (Biblical Hebrew>>)Israeli חפר √ħpr ‘dig’[...] Israeli שלטוט shiltút ‘zapping, surfing the channels, flipping through the channels’ derives from (i) (Hebrew>)Israeli שלט shalát ‘remote control’, an ellipsis – like English remote (but using the noun instead) – of the (widely known) compound שלט רחוק shalát rakhók – cf. the Academy of the Hebrew Language’s שלט רחק shalát rákhak; and (ii) (Hebrew>)Israeli שטוט shitút ‘wandering, vagrancy’. Israeli שלטוט shiltút was introduced by the Academy of the Hebrew Language in [...] 1996. Synchronically, it might appear to result from reduplication of the final consonant of shalát ‘remote control’. Another example of blending which has also been explained as mere reduplication is Israeli גחלילית gakhlilít ‘fire-fly, glow-fly, Lampyris’. This coinage by Hayyim Nahman Bialik blends (Hebrew>)Israeli גחלת gakhélet ‘burning coal’ with (Hebrew>)Israeli לילה láyla ‘night’. Compare this with the unblended חכלילית khakhlilít ‘(black) redstart, Phœnicurus’ (<<Biblical Hebrew חכליל ‘dull red, reddish’). Synchronically speaking though, most native Israeli-speakers feel that gakhlilít includes a reduplication of the third radical of גחל √għl. This is incidentally how Ernest Klein explains gakhlilít. Since he is attempting to provide etymology, his description might be misleading if one agrees that Hayyim Nahman Bialik had blending in mind."
"There are two possible etymological analyses for Israeli Hebrew כספר kaspár ‘bank clerk, teller’. The first is that it consists of (Hebrew>)Israeli כסף késef ‘money’ and the (International/Hebrew>)Israeli agentive suffix ר- -ár. The second is that it is a quasi-portmanteau word which blends כסף késef ‘money’ and (Hebrew>)Israeli ספר √spr ‘count’. Israeli Hebrew כספר kaspár started as a brand name but soon entered the common language. Even if the second analysis is the correct one, the final syllable ר- -ár apparently facilitated nativization since it was regarded as the Hebrew suffix ר- -år (probably of Persian pedigree), which usually refers to craftsmen and professionals, for instance as in Mendele Mocher Sforim’s coinage סמרטוטר smartutár ‘rag-dealer’."
Blending may occur with an error in lexical selection, the process by which a speaker uses his semantic knowledge to choose words. Lewis Carroll's explanation, which gave rise to the use of 'portmanteau' for such combinations, was:
Humpty Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a portmanteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words ... you will say "frumious."
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2011)|
Some languages, like Japanese, encourage the shortening and merging of borrowed foreign words (as in gairaigo), because they are long or difficult to pronounce in the target language. For example, karaoke, a combination of the Japanese word kara (meaning empty) and the clipped form oke of the English loanword "orchestra" (J. ōkesutora オーケストラ), is a Japanese blend that has entered the English language.
Many corporate brand names, trademarks, and initiatives, as well as names of corporations and organizations themselves, are blends. For example, Wiktionary, one of Wikipedia's sister projects, is a blend of wiki and dictionary. Also, Nabisco is a blend of the initial syllables of National Biscuit Company.
|Look up blend in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Acronym and initialism
- Amalgamation (names)
- Clipping (morphology)
- Compound (linguistics)
- Conceptual blending
- Contraction (grammar)
- Phono-semantic matching
- Portmanteau word
- Syllabic abbreviation
- Wiktionary Category:English blends
- Gries, Stefan Th. (2004). "Shouldn't it be breakfunch? A quantitative analysis of blend structure in English". Linguistics 42 (3): 639–667. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- Harper, Douglas. "Malinger".
- Klein, Ernest (1987). A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. Jerusalem: Carta. See p. 97.
- Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-1723-X. See p. 66.
- Zuckermann 2003, p. 67.
- Carroll, Lewis (2009). Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-955829-2.
- Fromkin, Victoria; Rodman, R., and Hyams, N. (2007). An Introduction to Language (Eighth ed.). Boston: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 1-4130-1773-8.