acronym (was re: uniting two old threads...)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jun 15 03:21:49 UTC 2006

>On the same subject, my son contributes an interesting acronym of the
>Nabisco type:
>srimech  /'sraj.mEk/
>self-righting mechanism
>in robotics, spec. in Robot Wars competitions
>Google reports about 2600 hits, starting with this one:
>srimech (n): Abbreviation of Self RIghting MECHanism; term used in robot
>combat for devices which turns a robot back onto its wheels after it has
>been flipped over by an opponent.
>What I find most interesting about this acronym (largo sensu) is its
>violation of English phonotactics, with initial /sr/. And it is indeed
>pronounced that way by the host of the TV show Robot Wars, the Liverpudlian
>Craig Charles.
Well, to be more precise (or at least accurate), /sr/ is a violation
of the phonotactics of some dialects of English.  In others, /sr/ is
fine (as in "srimp", etc.), but /Sr/ is impossible. Could be that no
varieties allow (or, before now, allowed) both /sr/ and /Sr/.


The American Dialect Society -

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