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Acronyms and abbreviations (was emcee)

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    Jim Healy March 8, 2006, 10:41 a.m. (Message 44557)

    Andrea writes:
    >1) The English language, on both sides of the Atlantic has an obsession 
    >about shortening words and creating acronyms of compound words. The same 
    >does not apply to, for example, romance languages. Certainly not to 
    Andrea, I must disagree. Try reading the Corriere della Sera without knowing 
    the meaning of CIGL, CISL and UIL (the main Unions) An, FI, PDS, FI (the 
    political parties) and so on, to say nothing of 'democristiani' or l'Ulivo. 
    I will agree that other languages can be worse with business letters in 
    Dutch leading the way with their t.g.v (in favour of) and t.a.v.(for the 
    attention of) and dozens more abbreviations that make them unintelligible 
    even to someone who speaks the language.
    Jim Healy
    Perth and 98000 MC
  • ... March 8, 2006, 2:17 p.m. (Message 44564, in reply to message 44557)

    True here in Spain. In fact most people my my part do not understand 
    Basque, but know that ETA pronounced as spelled, means a terrorist 
    group, even without knowing or understanding the acronym. The real 
    problem is for outsiders encountering the daily paperfor the first 
    time. When I first attended a Scottish university, I was a bit 
    overwhelmed by the number of university specific acronyms encountered. 
    Having said that, the real problem here is that when one starts with a 
    consonant such as M, N, L, F, H, R, S, W, X, the initial sound is not 
    picked up. 
    Related story about how acronyms travel. At the end of the season two 
    summers ago, I was the only one doing laps in the village pool, and the 
    lifeguard did not even bother to dress out. I asked what would happen 
    if I had a problem to which she answered, that she would probably get 
    her clothes wet. I then asked, BTW what does one say for help in this 
    part of Spain?
    when her response sounded like the English word "sauce", I asked what 
    it meant, thinking some obscure Mallorquí or Arabic word. She said she 
    did not know, but that is what they say. That night in a bar, I 
    repeated this story and my question, and got laughed at. The word got 
    started from those little "help" phones on the major highways on the 
    island. The phone boxes say "SOS".

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