uniting two old threads... (p.s.)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri May 26 22:22:40 UTC 2006

On 5/26/06, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> At 11:01 AM -0400 5/26/06, Laurence Horn wrote:
> >1)  What was it we were going to call the "Nabisco", "Gestapo",
> >"Comintern" type formations, which are to syllables what acronyms are
> >to letters?  Here's another one...
> >
> >2)  For those who fondly remember our "mullet" thread:  I just
> >learned that the usual appellation for it in German is "Vokuhila",
> >also sometimes spelled "VokuHila" or "VoKuHiLa" < vorne kurz hinter
> >lang (= front short back long).  An obvious instance of...whatever
> >the answer to the question (1) is.
> >
> P.S.
> OK, it's not quite initial syllables in this case, but more like
> first CV.  Also, that should be "hinten", not "hinter".

In a Language Log post about "Nabisco", "Sunoco", "Tribeca", "sci-fi",
etc., I tried out "acroblend" and also "orthographic blend" (since the
initial CV(C) chunk taken from each word is typically treated
graphemically rather than phonemically):


Not sure about the German phonology, but "Vokuhila" appears to work
similarly, with the first two letters rather than the first two
phonemes taken from each word. So... orthographic acroblend?
Orthoacroblend? Acrographonym?

I think John Algeo might have come up with a snappier term for such
creations in his article "The Acronym and Its Congeners" (LACUS Forum
1974). I'll have to dig it out of my files and check.

--Ben Zimmer

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

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