Copyright (c) 1993 Maney
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Nicknames have been observed and analyzed in a variety of cultures and subcultures. In most cases an analysis will presuppose either a narrow definition of a nickname which includes only meaningful names, or a broader definition which includes hypocorisms and other informal names. By using the concept of a category which is focused on a prototype but which includes less than prototypical or “borderline” members, both kinds of definitions can be accomodated. Furthermore, this two-tiered concept of the nickname, applied cross-culturally, may help bring order into our understanding of the many different kinds of nicknames that can be found in various cultural and social groups. In the case of urban China there are two kinds of nicknames which match this two-tiered model.
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