Why do Americans shorten our language - is it because they only have half a brain?I've heard this one before, and it came to mind when Grant Barrett sent me the following quotation from The Observer (a UK Sunday newspaper; emphasis added):
Barbaro became even more agitated when the vets brought the tarpaulin onto the track. Tarpaulin is used to shield a stricken horse from the crowd.The 'tarp', as it is called in racing, is like the screeching violins in ahorror film: a prelude to a kill. This was the first time, jockey EdgarPrado said later, that he thought that Barbaro might not survive.Now, you wouldn't have to explain to an American what a tarp is, but you might have to explain what a tarpaulin is. We tend to call it by the shortened name. We, or at least my family, also seem to use tarp(aulin)s for a greater range of purposes. For instance, Better Half was confused when I suggested we needed to get a tarp before painting a wall. He eventually figured out that I meant a dust sheet.
I have three words for the BrE speakers who ask why Americans shorten EVERYTHING: caff, cardie, Beeb.
(translation: cafe, cardigan, BBC)
I'm sure others can think of many more words in reply to the yahoo's question. Leave them in the comments box, if you please!