Initials - and other oddities

stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686
edited 6. Jul 2017, 06:28 in Community Chit-chat archive
We all use them, me included, and they do save time and effort which can be especially important when you have arthritis in your hands.


...are they getting out of hand? It's all too easy to suppose that the rest of the world has a clue what we mean.

I'm referring to the sort of post when someone comes on telling us they have been told they have ABC in their DEF and it has given rise to several GHs in their IJKs. Given that they already have the pre-existing condition LM, and that NOP can result from a QRS, might it be better to take an TU or a VWX as their consultant won't prescribe YZs?

I exaggerate.

Just a little

It's not as if each set of initials is unique to one particular translation. I still think of Subscriber Trunk Dialling when I see the initials STD 8) When I write of F.A. I am referring to Folic Acid but not everyone will grasp that, specially if I precede it by 'sweet' :oops: Is PMR a type of arthritis or a type of radio frequency? Context will usually tell us but not always. Even on here people say they have RA when they actually have Reactive Arthritis (usually written 'ReA'). And I know that MTX is the standard written abbreviation for methotrexate and that some people dislike the word 'meth' as they think it sounds too close to confessing to being a meths drinker :o but have they ever tried pronouncing MTX in conversation? It doesn't work.

I think this is a plea for words and language. What with initials, abbreviations and text speak they are fast disappearing. Almost as quickly as other, simple words are evolving into ridiculously complex ones. We don't buy a new bed any more. It's a sleep system now. That particular rot first set in for me years ago when we bought, what we thought was a second hand armchair, but were instantly corrected by the salesman – it was, apparently, a 'pre-owned' one. I distinctly recall someone telling me at the time that they were buying a new build house as they didn't like 'second hand' ones.

Where will it end? Language evolves, as my History of the Language lecturer told me but into what? It's supposed to facilitate communication not obscure it.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
Steven Wright


  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's supposed to facilitate communication not obscure it.
    In an ideal(and idealistic?) world perhaps, but hasn't language also always been a means of exclusion, separation, obfuscation and other less than desirable activities?
    In some respects the use of initials rather than words is the next stage of jargon, which as we all know can be used to make people feel at a disadvantage in terms of knowledge and understanding. The internet has made the dissemination of such terms wider and faster, but sadly doesn't necessarily bring understanding....
    It's a pity because there are times when use of initials(and acronyms) do make life easier. Deoxyribonucleic acid is a mouthful, DNA less so.
    Have you come across another version of secondhand Sticky - 'pre-loved'? I find that that one grates - do such items come with a guarantee that they have been loved rather than hated and so bring good vibes to the new owner?
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,280
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    :lol::lol: I love it and hate to say to people, has your Meths arrived yet... :shock:
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,458
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh Stickey, a superb hyperberlees (even better if I could spell).........

    On the question of language, we are getting back to the issue about having a 'like' button, we talked about elsewhere. Language is what we need!

    daffy2- language is only what we make if it and often I have pain in the ends of my fingers and don't want to type so abbreviations work then but we have this wonderful thing called language so lets wallow in it!

    I congratulated my Polish dentist that her English was improving, she got cross and said she had been here for 10 years, I explained that her use of the venacular speech, which we all tend to use was easier on our ears rather than heavily accented speech which I couldn't understand. I'm not sure she understood. Perhaps I'll save my comments until she's finished the treatment next time?

    Down with 'like' buttons!

    P.s. jest push me cuppa t sos i ken gettit, ta.
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,595
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    If you want acronyms, work for a Local Authority like I do!

    'Nuff said? ttfn (ta ta for now)

    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Grace, I think any organisation develops its own language; on the positive side it can save time, the negative is mis (or non-) understanding if not everyone is fluent.
    When I was a school governor we drew up our own glossary of acronyms/initials so we could understand what the teachers and (especially)LEA were talking about. Some caused amusement - there were several volunteers to be the nominated G&T governor! Others were associated with tiresome procedures and were occasionally 'altered'. Once such was MRS(Modern Rewards Strategy) which I rechristened MRSA for the personnel committee I chaired, as it went on for so long, was toxic in its effects, and couldn't be resolved.....
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    daffy – you are right. Language, like all other tools, can be misused - to obfuscate rather than enlighten – and the use of initials can be to prove that the user is 'in the know' rather than to communicate more simply. Sometimes, though, I think brevity becomes an end in itself so that it supersedes the intention to communicate clearly.

    As for 'pre-loved' – yikes :shock: Surely, if it were loved so much it would not be for sale :?

    Airwave – it can certainly take some time to 'tune in' to another's accent. We moved here in October and I'm fine with most Scottish accents but I really struggle with a Hawick one. The closer someone speaks to standard English the easier they are to understand but I love accents and dialect even when I don't understand them well.

    GraceB – I think 'organisations' are probably where most acronyms originate and they make perfect sense within the organisation. It's when they spill out that the problems start.

    daffy (again) – Wonderful! I think we've all been on at least one such committee.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright