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Old September 22, 2006, 12:09 PM   #1
Leif
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Suggestion for Acronym List

OK, this probably is going to come across as really nitpicky, but I was looking for something this morning and came across the TFL list of acronyms. Would it be possible to move the following item from its current location within "Common Government Acronyms" to "Common Web Acronyms":

Quote:
JBT - jack booted thug
To me, at least, that seems more appropriate. Thanks!
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Old September 22, 2006, 09:12 PM   #2
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Picking nits, are we?
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Old September 23, 2006, 08:43 PM   #3
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Not an acronyn, really

Well, nit picking it may be. I prefer to think of it as precision in our spoken and written language. I'm happy to see that the actual heading in The Library is Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Terms, and that one of the lists to which it is linked is headed acronym, abbreviation, or initialism.

There's a difference between an acronym and an abbreviation.

In brief, an acronym is a pronouncable abbreviation, formed by (usually) the initial letters of the words of a phrase. Since you can't really pronounce JBT, it is an abbreviation.

A common acronym is one that stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, pronounced "NAY-Toe." Another acronym, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, may be said "NASS-Uh."

The common abbreviation, CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) is difficult to pronounce as a word, so we normally speak the letters: "See-Eye-A." A General Purpose Machine Gun is called a "Gee-Pee-Em-Gee."

Strangely, some few abbreviations which could easily be pronounced as a word (acronym) are not handled that way. Amongst firearms students, the abbreviation for Browning Automatic Rifle is termed a "Bee-A-Are," not a "Bar."

Documentation:
From the Oxford American Dictionary:
Quote:
abbreviate to shorten (especially a word or title) . . . .
abbreviation 1. Abbreviating, being abbreviated. 2. a shortened form of a word of title . . . .

acronym a word formed from the initial letters of other words, as NATO, radar.
Concerning the reference lists in The Library - -
Truly, I'd like to know who, which actual person, compiled that top list, Common Acronyms/Terms (Local), internally titled Misc. Useful Acronyms. This is where, amongst a LOT of useful information, we find the perjorative term "JBT." In truth, this offensive term has no more place on such a list than does the 1960s term "pig" for police officer. And. please, let's dont get into the "Pride, Integrity, Guts" bushwa. This is the sort of rationale the bigots use to explain other offensive words such as WOG, WOP, chink, kike, and ******. (None of which, I note, are included in that list.)

Sorry about that - - A pet peeve of mine has bloomed into a minor rant.

Best
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Old September 25, 2006, 09:03 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
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Another term for a set of letters such as CIA or FBI is initialism.

An abbreviation consisting of the first letter or letters of words in a phrase (for example, IRS for Internal Revenue Service), syllables or components of a word (TNT for trinitrotoluene), or a combination of words and syllables (ESP for extrasensory perception) and pronounced by spelling out the letters one by one rather than as a solid word. (from American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

I've always preferred to use that term, and leave abbreviation to denote a shortened word.

For some reason the developers with whom I work have an easier time grasping that concept when I'm delivering a Grammarslap 101 class.
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Old September 25, 2006, 10:38 AM   #5
Leif
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Here I thought I was nitpicky - apparently I'm just precise!

Whatever we wish to call it, it was the pejorative nature of the 'thing' that led to my particular request. The other items in the "Government" section were of an official nature, whereas "JBT" was decidedly, well, unofficial.
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Old September 25, 2006, 11:17 AM   #6
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Yeah, I like that, too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
Another term for a set of letters such as CIA or FBI is initialism. . . . I've always preferred to use that term, and leave abbreviation to denote a shortened word.
Really, this is different from the definition I quoted: abbreviation 1. Abbreviating, being abbreviated. 2. a shortened form of a word of title . . . .

Of course, to really confuse matters, get the military involved in shortening titles or ranks. According to the above, LT is a perfectly good abbreviation, but what is 1LT?

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Old September 25, 2006, 12:46 PM   #7
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1LT means First Lieutenant, as opposed to Second Lieutenant (2LT). To help clear up any possible confusion, the military makes officers Second Lietenants before it makes them First Lieutenants. Kind of like senior enlisted people get to Master Sergeant before Sergeant Major. I hope that made everything clear. If it did, could you explain it to me?
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Old September 25, 2006, 02:32 PM   #8
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... and they make Major General before they make Lieutenant General.
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Old September 26, 2006, 07:20 AM   #9
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Exactly...who in the world put major before lieutenant when naming general ranks? Hmmm, do you think it was someone in government?
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Old September 26, 2006, 08:07 AM   #10
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Yep - the British government.
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Old September 27, 2006, 07:30 AM   #11
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The "Brits". How and why did the US military follow that logic? Can't we do anything without some kind of British influence?
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Old September 27, 2006, 10:34 AM   #12
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"The "Brits". How and why did the US military follow that logic? Can't we do anything without some kind of British influence?"

Well, let's see...

The United States army was established based on the British pattern.

The two ranks (lietenant gen. and major gen.) were both part of the British military structure, and had been since since the 1400s and 1600s, respectively. But, it's not just the British who have those ranks. The French, Germans, and Russians all have similar ranks that translate directly.

The Russians, Austrians, and Germans did throw in one other rank that no one else had, though -- Colonel General. The British did have that rank for a period of time, interestingly enough, right around the time when Major General was adopted (mid to late 1600s).

However, what puts the stake through the heart of your question is the US position of General of the Army.

The British don't have that position. They have Field Marshal, as do the Germans, French, Russians, etc.

However, had George C. Marshall not been the top dog in the military at the time the position was created, we well might have had the Field Marshal position. At the time, though, no one wanted to have to deal with Field Marshal Marshall.
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Old September 27, 2006, 11:46 AM   #13
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Thanks Mike, I was waiting for you to jump in with the correct historical data.

Actually, the more I think about it, Lt. General is probably more accurate than using Lieutenant for the lower class of officer (2nd, 1st, etc.). The word lieutenant means a subordinate to a higher ranking officer. So a Lt. Gen is subordinate to only one class of General (two if you also count 5 stars, but that is a special case). IOW, we shouldn't necessarily use the order of the lower ranking officers as a guide to the general officer classes.

The general officer order is very similar to the Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel order.
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Old September 27, 2006, 11:57 AM   #14
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Here is a link I've found useful http://www.acronymfinder.com/

I find myself constantly looking these things up.

Richard
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Old September 28, 2006, 12:47 PM   #15
Mike Irwin
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Maybe that's why the British for many many years referred to the Lieutenant as the Subaltern.
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