What is Abbreviation?
The term abbreviation originates in the Latin language, and is a spelling procedure that involves the reduction of a word through the deletion of final or central letters and usually ends with a period. Examples include: ATT. (for “attention”), Mr. (by “sir”), Dr. (by “doctor”).
Although these abbreviations (and many others) are massively used and have taken on a conventional form, anyone who knows how to write can create an abbreviation for their personal use. When a writer does this, he usually includes a glossary at the beginning or end of his work where he explains the particular abbreviations he has used.
There are two ways to abbreviate a term: by truncation or by shrinkage. The abbreviation for truncation is to remove the final part of the word, as can be seen by looking at Av. (by “avenue”), or etc. (by “etcetera”). In the Spanish language, such abbreviations never end in vowels, unlike other languages, such as English (see Ave., which corresponds to the term “avenue”, which means avenue).
This leads us to deal with a very common mistake made by students of foreign languages, or those who consider that they can speak a language simply because it has certain superficial similarities with theirs: to transfer the spelling rules from their native to foreign language. Both punctuation and division of words, accentuation, grammar and of course abbreviations can vary substantially from language to language, and it is essential to keep this in mind to learn correctly.
The most common thing, regardless of the construction of the abbreviation itself, is that it is assumed that they all lead to an end point. If we take as an example “doctor”, one of the terms that are most commonly written abbreviated in several languages, it is very likely that many people create correct the abbreviation Dr. in any Romance language, among which are Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French, among many others. Similarly, since the Anglo-Saxon term “doctor” is widely known and has the same spelling as its corresponding Spanish, it is surely also considered natural that it is abbreviated as in Spanish.
Using the latter particular case, if we refer to the English rules to construct the abbreviations, we will notice that if its last letter corresponds to the last of the original term, then it should not end with a period. This makes it clear that there is a difference between the Castilian “Dr.” and the English “Dr” however small it may seem and should not be used interchangeably.
The abbreviation by contraction,on the other hand, implies the removal of the central letters of the word, leaving only the most representative; some of the most commonly used are Avenue (for “avenue”)and no. (by “number”).
There are abbreviations that can end in flying letters, such as being no (by “number”). On the other hand, there are abbreviations in which the end point of a word is replaced by a forward slash: c/c (by “current account”)or c/u (by “each”). There are even abbreviations that can be written in parentheses: (a) (by “alias”).
It should be noted that, according to the spelling rule, abbreviations should maintain the tilde of the word of origin, as is the case with page (by “page”).
The acronym and acronym are other types of abbreviations and are often confused with each other and with abbreviations, although in essence they are clearly different: the acronym is to take the initial letter of each word that makes up a complex type expression, such as IGP (Internal Gross Product); the acronym, on the other hand, uses more letters of the terms it puts together, so that its sound is equivalent to that of a word, as is the case with SCM (Southern Common Market).