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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of research on the structural and sociolinguistic properties of nicknames, detailing the range of their form, content, and function. In form, nicknames vary from short hypocorisms to elaborate phrasal units reminiscent of Homeric epithets. In content, nicknames vary between forms internally derived from formal names to items coined via more creative processes. In function, nicknames vary between usage as 3rd person reference or vocative address. Furthermore, some nicknames are used personally within a community, while others are used by the general public for famous referents. Sociolinguistic patterns are also emergent; for example, nickname coinage reflects relative power of coiners over recipients, while nicknames for males and females tend to have different patterns of phonemic structure, coinage, and semantic content. The affective component of creative nicknaming is closely related to its fit as a form of address.

Keywords: nickname, hypocorism, hypocoristic, Homeric epithet, vocative, phonemic structure, coinage, truncation, byname, address

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