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Old 10th February 2009, 10:23   #826
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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
While I would have thought (till now ie.) that both words mean the same, this is what Wikipedia has to say:

While the word abbreviation refers to any shortened form of a word or a phrase, some have used initialism or alphabetism to refer to an abbreviation formed simply from a string of initials. In 1943, Bell Laboratories coined the term acronym as the name for a word (such as SONAR) created from the first letters of each word in a series of words (such as SOund Navigation And Ranging). The terms initialism and alphabetism are neither widely used nor widely known. The term acronym is widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters.

Going by which, "acronym' seems to be perfectly correct for the terms referred by me.
Well, the difference is that abbreviations are initial letters of two or more words like BA (Bachelor of Arts) or NH (National Highway), while acronyms are abbreviations that can be pronounced as words like RADAR (Radio Detection and Range) or ICE (In Car Entertainment). Hope this clears the confusion.
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Old 10th February 2009, 10:30   #827
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supremeBaleno : Going by which, "acronym' seems to be perfectly correct for the terms referred by me.
@Thad, Biju's right here.
eg. for abbreviation : abbr (cut short a word in an indicative way)
eg. for acronymn : National Highway (representative shortening)

Last edited by Technocrat : 11th February 2009 at 14:52. Reason: removing OT stuff
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Old 10th February 2009, 11:42   #828
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
While I would have thought (till now ie.) that both words mean the same, this is what Wikipedia has to say:

While the word abbreviation refers to any shortened form of a word or a phrase, some have used initialism or alphabetism to refer to an abbreviation formed simply from a string of initials. In 1943, Bell Laboratories coined the term acronym as the name for a word (such as SONAR) created from the first letters of each word in a series of words (such as SOund Navigation And Ranging). The terms initialism and alphabetism are neither widely used nor widely known. The term acronym is widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters.

Going by which, "acronym' seems to be perfectly correct for the terms referred by me.
VOE might be an acronym, if you say Voe, rhyming with toe, but WTPT, unless you say "Wataput" is "W" "T" "P" "T" and thus an abbreviation. Simillilarly, unless you drive on a Shh, SH.

The origin of the word acronym I didn't know, and that is really interesting, but Bell Labs could hardly have redefined 'abbreviation'. I can't, as an native English speaker, accept the Wikki author's assertion that The term acronym is widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters. He or she would have been quite right to say that The term acronym is widely mis-used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters!

Acronym, if the origin suggested is true, is a fascinating example of how techies/hackers (in the better sense of the word) have added to our language. The Jargon File is an excellent discussion of this, but I have not been able to find it on the internet recently.

Hey, !
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Old 10th February 2009, 12:00   #829
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Hmm. Given that Wiki could be prone to possible errors, I decide to ignore Wiki and go to the online Oxford English dictionary and given below is their take on the 2 words :

'acronym' - a word formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. laser, Aids).
Note : No mention whatsoever about being able to pronounce the short form itself as a word.

'abbreviation' - a shortened form of a word or phrase.

Going by the above, I think it would be as condor suggested a few posts above.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 10th February 2009 at 12:06.
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Old 10th February 2009, 22:31   #830
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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
... ...
'acronym' - a word formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. laser, Aids).
Note : No mention whatsoever about being able to pronounce the short form itself as a word.
A word must be pronounceable to be a word...

But, I think that, having taken a wikipedia definition too fast (all too easy to do), and become airborne, we have landed safely on all four wheels on the same road

How about "Mrs"? It is an abbreviation, originally of Mistress, and we do pronounce it, but not as wriiten. Does it qualify as an acronym? I don't know!!!!

Last edited by Thad E Ginathom : 10th February 2009 at 22:34.
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Old 11th February 2009, 09:55   #831
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom
A word must be pronounceable to be a word.
I would think that acronyms can be an exception, given that they are not really defined words, but formed using the first letters of other words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom
How about "Mrs"? It is an abbreviation, originally of Mistress, and we do pronounce it, but not as wriiten. Does it qualify as an acronym? I don't know!!!!
Not sure why you would think of 'Mrs' as an acronym. To me, it is clearly an abbreviation - abbreviated form of 'Mistress', plain and simple.
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Old 11th February 2009, 13:28   #832
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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
I would think that acronyms can be an exception, given that they are not really defined words, but formed using the first letters of other words.
We have taken off again: no, no, no, a hundred times no!

Acronyms are pronounceable words: laser, radar, and so on. They even, like those two oldies, get into the language without many people even realising that they are acronyms. I am 100% certain about this, and have been for around 40 years; if you want to take a different view, then I'll stop arguing the point

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Not sure why you would think of 'Mrs' as an acronym. To me, it is clearly an abbreviation - abbreviated form of 'Mistress', plain and simple.
It is a peculiarity, because it is pronounced, but not pronounced as written --- but if we cannot agree on the basics, there is no point in getting into the small points.

Best to get those wheels back on the ground of the topic
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Old 11th February 2009, 15:11   #833
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Hey TEG (Acronym) and SB (Abbreviation)! Mrs is pronounced as missus and written as missus. This is what merrium-webster (MW another abbreviation) has to say about it.
Main Entry: mis·sus Variant(s): or mis·sis \ˈmi-səz, -səs, especially Southern -zəz\ Function: noun Etymology: alteration of mistress
What it says on abbreviation:
a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole <amt is an abbreviation for amount>

a word (as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term

While searching I also chanced upon this:

Main Entry:
ini·tial·ism Pronunciation: \i-ˈni-shə-ˌli-zəm\ Function: noun Date: 1899 : an abbreviation formed from [COLOR=#0000ff]initial[/COLOR] letters
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Old 11th February 2009, 16:13   #834
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
'acronym' - a word formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. laser, Aids).
Note : No mention whatsoever about being able to pronounce the short form itself as a word.

'abbreviation' - a shortened form of a word or phrase.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
A word must be pronounceable to be a word...!
I'm afraid Nick is quite correct, supremebaleno.
TNT or DDT are not words (in the true sense of the spoken word), they are merely abbreviations, just like DHL or UPS. Laser however is a word and therefore is an acronym, just like Scuba and others.
VOE is not an acronym, is is merely an abbreviation. Unless you say Vohay or Voee.

Given this logic, it is apparent our language is changing. LAN, WAN and WAP that should be abbreviations have turned into acronyms today. Because we have turned them into spoken words.

This doesn't make LMAO, DND and LOL acronyms, unless you start lolling at every good joke. They stay as abbreviations, even though they are formed using the first letters of each word within the abbreviation. Even though LOL is quite pronounceable. As is UPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
How about "Mrs"? It is an abbreviation, originally of Mistress, and we do pronounce it, but not as wriiten. Does it qualify as an acronym? I don't know!!!!
Clearly Mrs. is as much an abbreviation as Mr. - but I do agree, it is a bit peculiar.
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Old 11th February 2009, 17:09   #835
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Scuba! I never knew that was an acronym!

So we have two words, abbreviation and acronym; they have separate, but overlapping definitions. Common usage will, eventual, dissolve the difference, and, as many do already, people will come to use just one word, and then the definitions will change. We can all help the language (well, the English language in this case, though all languages may well be threatened) from losing its subtlety.

Sam... what do you think of the definition dushmish gives of Missus as a noun? My first thought was that in The Missus, Mistress of the house, it is certainly a noun, but Mrs Smith is an adjective.

My second thought is that I'm wrong; Mrs Smith is just a contraction of The Mistress Smith, and, if anything, it is Smith that plays the part of adjective.

What is a mistress?

It is what comes between master and mattress.

(Sorry... one from my school days )
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Old 11th February 2009, 17:48   #836
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Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post

What is a mistress?

It is what comes between master and mattress.

(Sorry... one from my school days )
Should be between Miss and Mattress.

oops ! got the obvious joke a little late.
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Old 11th February 2009, 19:36   #837
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Ah-ha! What's been happening here while I was gone?!

I have also done my share of googling and came upon something to re-inforce what Thad and Sam have said:

Quote:
In writing, an abbreviation is any shortened form of a word or phrase. Note, however, that there are types of abbreviations; the most common being acronyms and intialisms.
  • acronym - (a type of abbreviation)
    A word formed from the initial parts (letters OR syllables OR arbitrary parts) of a name.
    Examples: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
  • initialism - (a type of abbreviation)
    A group of initial letters used as an abbreviation for a name or expression, each letter being pronounced separately.
    For example, "BBC" (British Broadcasting Corporation), or "PBS" (Public Broadcasting System).
The key difference between an acronym and an initialism is that an acronym forms a new word, while an initalism does not.
For example, you say "nay-to" for NATO; this means you are saying a word, as opposed to saying each letter (ehn-ay-tee-oh).
So "NATO" is an acronym. But "U.K." is an intialism for United Kindom: you say each letter individually (you don't say "yuk", so you know it's not a word). Also, the periods are a dead-giveaway that's it's an intialism...
There are other types of abbreviations as well. Consider, for example, the truncation....
  • truncation - (a type of abbreviation)
    An abbreviation of a word consisting only of the first part of the word.
    Most often used in a context (such as for mail) where certain words must be written (and read) repetitively.
    Examples: Tues. = Tuesday; Dec. = December; Minn. = Minnesota; Eur = Europe, European
So, here's your first test: "HTML": abbreviation, acronym, or initialism?
Well, it is an abbreviation, because it's a shortened form of "Hyper-Text Markup Language".
But it's not an acronym, because it's not a word! (You can tell, because you don't say "heh-teh-mehl"; you say "aych-tee-ehm-ehl".)
And it is, as you may have guessed, an intialism, for the same reason it's not an acronym (you pronounce each letter separately).


Source:

initialism vs. abbreviation vs. acronym
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Old 11th February 2009, 19:48   #838
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi
VOE is not an acronym, is is merely an abbreviation. Unless you say Vohay or Voee.
Hey Sam, 'VOE' is pronounced as "Woh", like done in "Woh sundar naari kaun hai?". So, it is an abbreviation that can be pronounced as a word and thus technically a valid claimant for being an acronym.

Can't say the same about WTPT though.

Did some more googling and while I see your (and Thad's) point, I being no linguist, find it just a minor technicality. And since 'acronym' sounds more cool than 'abbreviation' and also being easier to type, I guess I would stick to that.
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Old 11th February 2009, 21:26   #839
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One man's minor technicality is another man's deep and poetic diference!

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Old 11th February 2009, 21:30   #840
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Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
One man's minor technicality is another man's deep and poetic diference!

And one man's acronym is another man's mattress. lol
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