Archive for the ‘Initialisms’ Category

Coordinate initialisms

August 6, 2015

It started with an ADS-L posting by Benjamin Barrett about the initialism T&A, which (he learned) abbreviates tits and ass but can also denote (from a Wiktionary entry) “scantily-clad women, or entertainment featuring scantily clad women” (that is, a display of tits and ass).

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[The T & A Team is a classic porn film from 1984, with the slogan “Using Their T & A to Make the World a Better Place!”. It’s a take-off on the tv series The A-Team (1983-87).]

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Language cartoon Wednesday

August 5, 2015

That would be today, with three language-related cartoons in my inbox: a Rhymes With Orange, a Mother Goose and Grimm, and a Bizarro:

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Initialisms, raunchy and not

July 2, 2015

An image posted by actor/director Chris Pratt on his Facebook page:

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The initialistic abbreviation BJ stands for Beijing here, but of course blowjob will come first to many people’s minds — even though then the t-shirt should go

I ♥︎
BJs

And there are more possibilities; it’s in the nature of abbreviations to be multiply ambiguoua.

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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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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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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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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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Truncated lame duck

November 27, 2012

Caught on Facebook this morning:

Help us protect Social Security and Medicare benefits during the lame duck by signing our petition! (link)

This has the nominal lame duck as a truncated version of the N + N compound lame duck Congress/session — an ad hoc truncation that is interpretable given context and background knowledge.

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Pre-op days

November 11, 2012

Notes on my Friday and Saturday, doing things, with the help of Elizabeth Traugott, to get ready for surgery on Wednesday.  Friday afternoon at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (family practice and physical therapy), Saturday morning at the Stanford University Medical Center and the Footwear Etc. store in Palo Alto. (Otherwise, a lot of exhausted sleep.) With some linguistic observations along the way.

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For short

October 18, 2012

From an appointment on October 2nd with an orthopedist, the clipping nec fac /nɛk fæk/ for necrotizing fasciitis (from the doctor). This was a new abbreviation of the disease name for me; I was accustomed to the initialism NF /ɛn ɛf/ (from other doctors). And I wondered about the /fæk/ piece of the clipping, where I would have expected /fæʃ/ or /fæs/, given the full pronunciation of fasciitis, with one or the other of these  as the first syllable.

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