Hypocoristics in New Zealand and Australian English

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New Zealand and Australia share a propensity to create new words and hypocoristic forms of existing words by adding -<i>ie</i> and -<i>o</i> suffixes (among others) to a base which is usually monosyllabic. While the creation of new words is driven by the need to refer quickly to new things, the creation of hypocoristic alternatives is driven partly by the desire to identify with a group&#8217;s particular way of talking. The distribution of hypocoristic forms is similar across both countries, except for the greater use of the -<i>o</i> ending in Australia, especially in naming occupations and in fishing. Across different semantic domains there is a greater range of suffixes to be found in proper names (personal, geographic and institutional) than in common nouns.


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