American abbreviations

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 9 03:04:04 UTC 2005

On 10/7/05, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: American abbreviations
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> That would seem to be difficult to support for Japanese, a language filled
> with abbreviations.

The languages spoken in the old Iron-Curtain countries likewise are
rife with various types of abbreviations, a legacy from the days of
the Communist bureaucracy. This sort of thing is hardly peculiar to
U.S. English.

-Wilson Gray

> 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.
> Benjamin Barrett
> Baking the World a Better Place
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: American Dialect Society
> > [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Arnold M. Zwicky
> >
> > one of the other fellows -- ok, Fellows -- here at the
> > Stanford Humanities Center is a native speaker of Italian and
> > has the impression that Englsh speakers, or at least American
> > 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.

-Wilson Gray

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