Archive for the ‘Abbreviation’ Category

Coping with the new

June 2, 2014

In today’s One Big Happy, Ruthie and Joe are back on the track of trying to make sense of things they haven’t heard before:

  (#1)

Lots of knowledge needed here — about the words of English and about sociocultural conventions:

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Double-take

May 1, 2014

Victor Steinbok found this on Google+ and passed it on to me; a great many sites have versions of it:

Note: These Tasty Crackers are Australian; the sale price is in Australian dollars.

Lots of people will do a double-take on seeing that sale sticker, which comes very close to offering tasty-ass crackers.

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Background knowledge

April 27, 2014

On April 25th, on ADS-L, from Pat O’Conner (of Grammarphobia.com), under the heading “A crash blossom for the ages”:

Dare you to decipher this one, from Reuters (London) on April 16th:

“Stuttering Man City Held by Bottom Side Sunderland”

Pat translates:

“Man City” is Manchester City, a football (soccer) team (or “side”). Sunderland is another; it plays in the lowest league (“bottom”).

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Who Made That?

January 20, 2014

In the NYT Magazine (on Sunday the 19th), a “Who Made That?” piece by Daniel Engber on the captcha. Some weeks ago, another one of these pieces on laugh tracks on television.

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Today’s initialism

September 4, 2013

In  my mail today, a message labeled BFSA. Ok, any number of interpretations, many of them sexual (my mind is inclined that way), but then it turned out to be from these folks:

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Acronym of the week

May 1, 2013

From the NYT Science Times yesterday, in ” ‘Cured of AIDS’? Not Yet” by Donald G. McNeil Jr.:

“We should seek out, test and get people into treatment as soon as we possibly can,” Dr. [Anthony] Fauci said. “That way, you can get people into the position the Visconti cohort is in.”

(“Visconti cohort,” for Viro-Immunologic Sustained Control After Treatment Interruption, is a shorthand way of referring to the patients studied by the Pasteur Institute, in France.)

Someone labored hard to concoct that acronym.

A bonus from the same article, this “split infinitive” that caught my eye:

In this country, it is unusual for an infected pregnant woman to not see a doctor even once before delivery.

I probably would have moved the not up in the structure, to give not to see, but I’m not sure why; I certainly have no aversion to so-called split infinitives. Perhaps the writer systematically prefers to keep VP adverbs (like not) with the VP they modify (so that the infinitive marker to then combines with a full, modified BSE-form VP); there are certainly writers who do.

 

Acronymic pun

April 22, 2013

John Gintell, just back from the NEFFA festivities, has posted this Pearls Before Swine cartoon from January 27th on Google+:

 

Big GROAN (great roar of acronymic nausea).

 

Initialistic ambiguity

April 16, 2013

From the NYT op-ed page on the 14th, in T. M. Luhrmann’s column “When God Is Your Therapist”:

… the Rev. Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life,” one of the best-selling books of all time, teaches you to identify your self-critical, self-demeaning thoughts, to interrupt them and recognize them as mistaken, and to replace them with different thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapists often ask their patients to write down the critical, debilitating thoughts that make their lives so difficult, and to practice using different ones. That is more or less what Warren invites readers to do. He spells out thoughts he thinks his readers have but don’t want, and then asks them to consider themselves from God’s point of view: not as the inadequate people they feel themselves to be, but as loved, as relevant and as having purpose.

It was the reference to cognitive behavioral therapy (or as Luhrmann has it, Cognitive-behavioral therapy). After the first mention, most writers shift to using the initialism CBT to refer this approach to psychotherapy. And then I have a moment of entertaining the possibility that the writer is talking about the fetish/kink cock and ball torture, also abbreviated as CBT. Context sorts things out, of course, though it entertains me to think of psychotherapists treating their patients with cock and ball torture, or BDSM folk torturing people with cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Cyanide and Happiness roundup

March 24, 2013

Five strips from the webcomic Cyanide and Happiness, with various points of linguistic interest (some incidental to the humor of the strip).

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Abbreviation

February 16, 2013

Today’s Zits:

Here we have someone — Jeremy’s mother — coming into a new speech community and resisting accommodation. It wouldn’t take long for his mother the learn the abbreviations Jeremy regularly uses (probably not a great many, to judge from studies of these things).

 


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