Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 13 16:42:06 UTC 2010


You are right -- I am missing the point.

You talk about the difference in distribution "relative to the
underlying abbreviation". I don't know what that means.

As I said, NBA and NFL are abbreviations of real names names that have
been used for decades along with their abbreviations.

MLB is effectively a rebranding, using the phrase Major League
Baseball as its source. One still  finds writers and publications
referring to ML baseball.

A hindrance for the adoption of MLB is that MLB runs both the Major
Leagues and the minor leagues, while the NFL and the NBA are
effectively synonymous with professional football and pro basketball,
having no (NFL) or few (NBA) inferior leagues.

A last point: KFC chicken is technically correct, since KFC is now the
brand name. Yet you seem to think it is wrong, in the same way many
people avoid talking about MLB baseball and use the older, more
comfortable terms such as "ML baseball" or the Major Leagues.


On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "PIN" (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Dan,
> I think you're missing the point. Although it is true that the "MLB"
> designation is considerably more recent than either the NBA or the NFL,
> the combination "MLB baseball" does not follow the same distribution
> pattern as "NFL football" or "NBA basketball" even relative to the
> underlying abbreviation. What used to be referred to as "major leagues
> baseball" (or, "major league baseball") became MLB first (thanks to
> ESPN, before it became essentially a trademark for the combined NL and
> AL business), and only as the latter became more dominant than the
> former did you get "MLB baseball" (which is kind of like referring to a
> KFC franchise as "KFC Chicken"--and I've seen my share of those too).
> There is a structural difference between the underlying phrases in NBA
> and NFL (and NHL) vs. MLB. In the first two, the name of the sport is
> adjectival, a description of the respective organization. In MLB,
> "baseball" is the head noun, with "MLB" referring both to the
> organization and to the game that the organization sponsors. And there
> is another league with similar verbal behavior--the MLS. But "MLS" was a
> trademark from the beginning and the phrase "MLS soccer" was used
> specifically to describe the games and activities sponsored by the MLS
> (including TV broadcasts). "MLB" did not start out as a trademark,
> although it may have become one by now.
> I have not verified the trademark status of "MLB", but a quick search
> for "MLB trademark" gives another interesting piece. Note the headline:
>> SABR opposes 'sabermetrics' trademark
> The subhed is also interesting:
>> Organization to file motion to keep term in public domain
> http://bit.ly/cPiuHN
>> The Society for American Baseball Research recently filed a movement
>> seeking to oppose a request by a marketing firm to trademark the term
>> "sabermetrics."
>> SABR filed a request for extension of time to file an opposition last
>> Wednesday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in hopes of
>> eventually stopping Deep Focus Inc. from trademarking the widely used
>> baseball term, according to a news release sent out by SABR.
>> "We believe sabermetrics is a generic term and should remain in the
>> public domain," SABR Executive Director John Zajc said in a statement.
>> "SABR is part of a larger movement toward open-source sharing of
>> information. Having a private company own a federal trademark
>> registration for a term in common use in our industry is not in line
>> with that philosophy."
> Cheers,
>     VS-)
> On 8/13/2010 10:59 AM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>> Sorry, but this conversation seems a bit divorced from reality.
>> "NBA" and "NFL" represent acronyms for long-standing names of leagues,
>> which is why "the NBA" and "the NFL" have been used for decades.
>> For most of their history, the American League (AL) and the National
>> League (NL) had no clear terminology for their combined activities,
>> the closest being "Major League", often used in the phrase "ML
>> baseball". It wasn't until the late 90s that the Office of the
>> Commissioner of ML baseball started referring to itself as "Major
>> League Baseball". (The AL and NL as organizations were disbanded in
>> 2000.)
>> I would expect the language to somewhat reflect the history.
>> DanG
>> On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 9:42 AM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC
>> <Bill.Mullins at us.army.mil> wrote:
>>> Most of the links you provide below are to graphs which are not complete
>>> on the left (early) side. In every case I checked, if you changed the
>>> beginning date to one several decades earlier, you'd get more hits that
>>> the original graph did not show.
>>> Apparently Google News Archives defaults to a graph which doesn't
>>> include every citation it finds.
>>> This is not to say, however, that Victor's basic point is wrong -- it
>>> isn't. All of the acronyms have grown greatly in the last few decades
>>> (probably associated with the growth in marketing the leagues themselves
>>> as brands).
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
>>> Behalf Of
>>>> Victor Steinbok
>>>> Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:05 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: "PIN"
>>>> Not only that, but MLB is a fairly recent vintage. I don't recall
>>> ever
>>>> hearing or seeing references to "MLB" prior to the late 1990s--i.e.,
>>> the
>>>> "dotcom era". Checking GNA gives a very vivid graph:
>>>> http://bit.ly/9EU41j
>>>> To make matters worse, most of the early hits are from documents on
>>>> MLB.com. The graph for "MLB baseball" makes the point even more
>>> obvious:
>>>> http://bit.ly/9QUHy8
>>>> Compare that distribution to "major leagues baseball" (you extend the
>>>> search range into the early 1900s):
>>>> http://bit.ly/bJWnOl
>>>> Clearly the Google database is not exhaustive, but it provides a
>>> fairly
>>>> clear view of a cross-section of publications.
>>>> In fact, comparing NBA to MLB is also illustrative:
>>>> http://bit.ly/99R2fx
>>>> http://bit.ly/cO3QYM
>>>> and
>>>> http://bit.ly/b7PmJa
>>>> Clearly, there is a recent upswing in "NBA basketball" hits, but
>>> that's
>>>> largely due to 1) a similar increase in "NBA" hits, and 2) a gradual
>>>> increase in the number of digital-ready publications available to
>>>> Google. The numbers for "MLB baseball" cannot be explained in the same
>>>> manner.
>>>> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list