Bob Kennedy
Nicknames form part of the canon of phonological literature, given their unique properties of truncation. In research I've conducted over the last several years, I have assembled a large database of nicknames used for hockey players. These data are interesting along a number of dimensions: they may be phrasal or vocative, and among vocatives, they may be derived or unpredictably descriptive. Derived nicknames are the usual focus of analsyses of truncations, but the unpredictable vocatives are also phonologically constrained. Moreover, there is variability in whether a vocative is monosyllabic or receives one of several possible nickname endings, rendering it disyllabic.

This enterprise has led me into studying the usage of language in sporting contexts more generally. I have taught a class in this subject, taking time to analyze the history of sports terminology, the syntax of broadcasters, coaches, and players, the semantics of team names, and the phonology of nicknames, chants, and cheers.

Selected Publications
  • Nicknames and the lexicon of sports (with Tania Zamuner) pdf.
  • New interpretations of truncation: evidence from nicknames (in prep)