Wednesday, December 27, 2006

[acronyms] pedantry or right on the money

I don’t mention Oliver Kamm’s posts nearly enough because 1] they’re usually so tightly written, it’s difficult to do anything other than post the whole thing and 2] he doesn’t like being quoted [his debate* with Norm over this issue seems to indicate that]. However, this one demands posting - here he is annoyed by an article in the BBC News magazine and he’s right. P-G – you might also be interested in this one:

You can make a plausible case that JPEG is an acronym. DVD-RAM is half an acronym. None of the rest is an acronym; they are abbreviations. MP3 is an abbreviation of an abbreviation. An acronym is a word formed from the initial letter or letters of a group of words. Unicef is an acronym; UNHCR is not an acronym, but an abbreviation. Acronym is a useful word, with no convenient synonym. I fear that its indiscriminate use by journalists who think it sounds modish may be irreversible.

*I reason that as he doesn’t like to quote others, the same would apply in reverse.

1 comment:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, he is right. Sometimes I feel a fool because these things matter to me, so thank you for posting this, James.