LITERARY DISCOURSE: Word Formation Part Three

In a previous lecture, we started WORD FORMATION, and today we continue from BLENDING. Before we proceed, we recap the Learning Outcomes.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this lecture, fellow students and readers should be able to increase their understanding of:

  • The definition of Word Formation
  • The various processes of Word Formation


Blending is the process in which parts of two or more words combine to form a new word whose meaning is often a combination of the original words. Below are examples:

  • advertisement + entertainment → advertainment
  • television + broadcast → telecast
  • breakfast + lunch → brunch
  • motor + hotel → motel
  • simultaneous + broadcast → simulcast
  • smoke + fog → smog
  • Spanish + English → Spanglish
  • spoon + fork → spork
  • telephone + marathon → telethon
  • web + seminar → webinar

Examples in usage:

  • Chantiwuni is the ADVERTAINMENT Manager at Radio Maachandi.
  • Dagbon State TV TELECASTS an interesting documentary on Asante Kingdom every week.
  • Divela prefers BRUNCH to lunch.
  • Kataale owns a big MOTEL at Sagnarigu.
  • Azinpaga speaks SPANGLISH fluently.
  • Chalpang used SPORK to eat ‘tuubaani’ last night.
  • Students of Zogbeli Institute of Liberal Arts attended a WEBINAR on Public Speaking yesterday.

Blended words are also referred to as PORTMANTEAUS. The word “portmanteau” itself is a product of two French words: PORTER (to carry) and MANTEAU (a cloak). It was first used by Lewis Caroll in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ where Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of some unusual words (Ansah, 2015).

It is significant to state the differences between BLENDING and COMPOUNDING. While two full words combine to form a new word in COMPOUNDING, parts of two or more words come together to create a new word in BLENDING. Abbreviation

Abbreviation is a word formation process in which a word or phrase is shortened. This implies that the initial letters (of the word or the phrase) are considered as the word or the phrase. Although abbreviation is largely a convention of written language, sometimes it is found in spoken language. See examples:

Written Abbreviations

  • Apr. – April
  • cm – centimeter(s)
  • dept. – department
  • Dr. – doctor
  • Jr. – Junior
  • Mr. – Mister

Examples in usage:

  • Dr. SAS is a legal luminary.
  • Gbewaa Jr. was the mate of Timtooni at Batangyili Senior High School.
  • Mr. Suhudoo is an intimate friend of mine.

Spoken-Written Abbreviations

  • A.M. – Ante Meridiem [in the morning]
  • B.C.E. – Before Common Era
  • i.e. – id est [that is]
  • OJ – Orange Juice
  • PMS – Premenstrual Syndrome
  • RSVP – Répondez S’il Vous Plait
  • VIP – Very Important Person


An acronym is a word formed by the process in which an initialism is pronounced as a single word. For instance, ECOWAS is an acronym for Economic Community of West African States that is pronounced as the single word ECOWAS. However, OAU is an initialism for Organisation of African Unity that is spoken as the three letters O-A-U. It is therefore an abbreviation. Other examples of acronyms in English include:

  • ASAP – as soon as possible
  • AWOL – Absent Without Leave
  • laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
  • PIN – Personal Identification Number
  • radar – Radio Detection and Ranging
  • TESOL – Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States
  • NAB – National Accreditation Board.

Examples in usage:

  • Wunnam will return from school ASAP.
  • One needs a PIN to open an account on the website of Literary Discourse.
  • RADAR is a safety gadget of an aeroplane.
  • TESOL is a lucrative area of Adult Education in many countries.
  • ECOWAS organised a special summit on Climate Change in Abuja two years ago.
  • NAB has ordered International University College of Guluma (IUCG) to stop Communication Studies for non-affiliation and non-accreditation.

NOTE: It is instructive to state that some linguists treat ABBREVIATION as part of ACRONYM. In this sense, ACRONYM is of two main types – (a) where the initial letters of the word are pronounced individually and (b) where the initial letters of the word are pronounced as a single word (Wiredu, 2009).

To be continued.
By Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo, Coordinator of Students and University Relations, University of Applied Management (UAM), Germany – Ghana Campus, McCarthy Hill, Accra and Tamale

Email: [email protected] Tel: 0244755402

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