1. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    Is this called a "shortcut" word?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MatrixGravity, May 4, 2011.

    The word ACCOMPANY. Is it a 'short-cut word'? Because you see, I can write it in two ways. The long way which is...

    "It would be nice if you came with me to the beach."
    It'd be nice if you accompanied me to the beach."

    See, it works like a shortcut. Is that what it was designed for? Are there more words like that out there?
     
  2. Mister Cheech
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    Mister Cheech Member

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    But "accompanied" is more syllables than "came with."
     
  3. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Hi MatrixGravity!

    I wouldn't call it a “shortcut word”. What accompanied has done is replaced two words with one. You've simply reworded. If anything its changed the dialogue and made it sound more formal. There are many words out there that can be used as a substitute for others, but usually the simplest wording is the best. Why use five words when one will do?
    I hope that’s helped and that I’m correct.

    Good luck! :)
     
  4. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    "To come with" is a phrasal verb, whereas "to accompany" is not. There are many examples in English of phrasal verbs that have more succinct (in terms of wordcount) counterparts. The widespread use of phrasal verbs make English very difficult to learn for non-native speakers, as, instead of having to learn a one-word verb like "to accompany", mastery requires learning all the phrasal shades too, which are often only subtly differentiated by prepositions. These come naturally to native speakers, but can take others years to fully acquire.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see how that could be considered a 'shortcut'... where did you see this term?... if you'd post the definition, we could be more helpful...
     
  6. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    As Midnight_Adventurer said it makes it sound more formal. Where I disagree is that it's automatically the better option because it's less words. If it doesn't fit your character to use the word accompanied it's not going to flow and your reader is going to be confused as to why the 15 year old boy from the roughest part of Philly just said that, when more than likely he's going to use "come with" instead. You see what I'm saying?
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    English isn't very "designed". I've not checked, but I'm pretty sure that is one of the cases where we have inherited one way of saying it from Germanic languages and one from Latinate languages. "come with" looks Germanic, "accompany" looks Latinate. Because the Germanic languages used to be the language of the people and Latinate languages used to be the languages of academia and the royal court, the Germanic version tends to sound more ordinary, the Latinate version more formal, even a bit stand-offish or pompous. You will usually want your narration to sound ordinary, but in dialog you will choose according to the personality of the speaker.

    A particular point to note is that (in the UK at least) some minor functionaries tend to use lots of Latinate words (sometimes inappropriately) because they think it makes them sound more authoritative (when in reality it just makes them sound pompous).
     
  8. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Awesome analysis. I wish I understood linguistics; It would make alien-language-creating much less of a headache.
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try reading almost anything by David Crystal. Most of his stuff is aimed at the general reader and is fun to read, and he's a world authority on how language (especially English) develops and changes. The same factors would (probably) apply to alien languages. That means that unless the aliens are highly logical and have artificially constructed their language and something is stopping the language diverging from that constructed form, their language will be messy, full of inconsistencies, ambiguities, and duplications.

    If you are really interested, try skimming a couple of teach-yourself books from the library to see some of the oddities you can get -- the mutations of Welsh, the absence of any tense system in Chinese, the differences between men's language and women's language in Japanese and so on.
     

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