American abbreviations

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Oct 8 05:39:44 UTC 2005

I suppose that seems true in general, though PC and VRT seem to clearly be
words in both English and Japanese (their status as initialisms might be
questionable in the latter, however).

In any case, I think my comments are applicable to the OP's issue:


> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>

> English speakers, use many more abbreviations of all types
> (alphabetisms, acronyms, truncations) in everyday speech than
> do speakers of Italian or the other languages she knows well
> (which include Japanese and Mandarin).  speakers of several
> other languages, including French and Spanish, were inclined
> to agree with her.
> she had in mind things like "PC" for "personal computer" and
> "politically correct", "ad" for "advertisement", etc.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Laurence Horn
> At 6:21 PM -0700 10/7/05, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> >That would seem to be difficult to support for Japanese, a language
> >filled with abbreviations.
> >
> >It seems to me that an abbreviation in this context would have to be
> >counted as a word whose full form is known to the person knowing the
> >abbreviated form, so that for many speakers of English and Japanese,
> >scuba is NOT an abbreviation but PC (for personal computer) is.
> >
> More generally, acronyms tend to qualify as words.
> Initialisms don't obviously do so.  (Another reason to
> preserve the distinction in
> nomenclature.)

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