Archive for the ‘Abbreviation’ Category

Carbs, not crabs

February 5, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy:

Ruthie (and her friends) turn the (for them) unusual word carb (short for carbohydrate) into the more familiar crab — which fits their view of Playground Lady.

For short

December 12, 2014

In the NYT on the 10th, an op-ed piece by Jason Mark, “Climate Fiction Fantasy: What ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Snowpiercer’ Got Wrong”, with the observation that

end-of-the-world scenarios appear so regularly in books and films that they are now their own mini-genre — cli-fi.

Note the playful abbreviation cli-fi ‘climate fiction’ (parallel to the much older sci-fi ‘science fiction’), which was new to me but has apparently been around since 2008 or so.

(More recently, fiction has been abbreviated as fic rather than fi, in fan-fic and slash-fic: fic is the straightforward clipping, and there’s no rhyming motivation for fi, as there is in sci-fi and cli-fi.)

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Crossword puzzle words

November 16, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

The cartoon is partly about the relations between the sexes, with the man “doing” the crossword puzzle by getting all the words from the woman. It’s also about those words — all of them “crossword puzzle words”, ranging from relatively rare (ARIA) to extremely rare (SMA) in everyday usage.

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On the orphan initialism front

October 26, 2014

From Roger Klorese, the news that the alphabetic abbreviation PFLAG no longer stands for anything. From the PFLAG website:

The acronym PFLAG, pronounced “P-FLAG” /ˈpiːflæɡ/, originally stood for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, but in 2013 the organization switched to using only the acronym to be more inclusive of all in the LGBT community.

That is, PFLAG has become an orphan initialism, unmoored from its initialistic source.

(Roger is not particularly happy with a name that sounds like urinating on the flag.)

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Bizarro followup

August 29, 2014

Posting yesterday on that day’s Bizarro, with only minimal commentary on it. Now a follow-up on two topics: what you have to know to make sense of what’s going on in the cartoon; and what makes it funny.

The cartoon repeated here:

 

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temblor

August 26, 2014

We had an earthquake in northern California in the middle of the night on Sunday. Centered in Napa County, where it did some significant damage. Down here on the peninsula, we got some long shaking, but not much otherwise. My windows rattled, but nothing was harmed; not even the pictures on my walls were deranged.

Then there’s the media coverage, which prominently uses (in all quake reporting, but especially in headlines) the word temblor, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard in ordinary conversation; it seems to be a journalists’ word.

Maybe some journalists think that temblor is a technical, precise term and that (earth)quake is a colloquial and less precise term, but I can find no evidence for this idea. All the dictionaries I’ve looked at, plus the Associated Press Stylebook, treat temblor as a straightforward synonym for earthquake, with no referential distinction.

It’s true that temblor is shorter than earthquake, so it’s handy for for headlines. But the clipped quake is shorter than temblor, and has the advantage of easy comprehension. (Tremor is also compact and easy to understand.) But newspapers like the exotic temblor.

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An orphan initialism

August 24, 2014

In a local story I’ve been following for a while in the (San Francisco mid-peninsula) Daily Post, the installment from the 21st: “Gym may continue without Y: Landlord comes to the rescue” by Breena Kerr. Background:

YMCA Silicon Valley announced in June it intended to close the gym in the Palo Alto Square office complex [at Page Mill Rd. and El Camino Real], citiing declining membership and the need to make costly and logistically difficult renovations. As the expiration of the lease approached, the YMCA said it made more sense to close than to try to save the gym.

(The landlord now says he intends to keep the gym running after the YMCA leaves.)

Further background: Over the years, the Page Mill YMCA has developed a considerable membership of seniors, who have become a community. As the Daily Post put it:

Unlike most YMCAs, the Page Mill location is an adult gym, and many members see it as an integral part of their social lives.

But YMCA of Silicon Valley Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Jordan told the Post in June that the organization doesn’t want to run an adult gym.

“A YMCA that’s perceived as adults-only isn’t in line with the YMCA’s mission,” she told the Post.

In the June quote Jordan characterizes the facility as “an adult gym” but then refines that to “perceived as adults-only”, which is quite another matter. In any case, the Page Mill facility certainly presents itself as for everyone. not just the young, men, and Christians.

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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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