The subject we are discussing today seems current and, above all, relevant, insofar as the acronym, acronym and abbreviation are sometimes taken as synonyms. The acronym is confused with the acronym, and vice versa – that is to say, the existence of dots separating each of the initial letters of a group of words [SADC] was, until relatively recently, a fundamental element to distinguish the acronym from the acronym. The abbreviation is also confused, either with the acronym or with the acronym. The Report on Baseline Indicators relating to Sustainable Development Goals, recently published by the National Institute of Statistics of Angola, is an example of the existing confusion.
Thus, with the question “acronym, or acronym, or abbreviation”, we intend to bring some practical examples of how to distinguish each of these lexical creations. On the one hand, we continue, in another version, the discussions we had with some bosses and colleagues. On the other hand, we resumed a public discussion on the difference between acronym and acronym, in which it is argued that it should be read [SADC] and not [SADEC]. It is, therefore, a subject that we believe to be of interest to all.
The acronym, the acronym and the abbreviation
Although there is still confusion in the distinction of terms, the acronym, acronym and abbreviation are distinguished from each other. They have in common the fact that both terms are a type of reduction.
According to Duarte Martins (2014, p. 248), reduction is the “generic term that encompasses the phenomena and processes of shortening in general”, which includes the acronym, acronym and abbreviation. A generic term is understood to be the term that groups other terms within it, as can be seen in the figure below:
In the figure above, the acronym, acronym and abbreviation are a type of reduction. In addition to the acronym, acronym and abbreviation, there are other types of reduction, such as truncation ( kilo, kilogram, photo, photograph), symbols (CO 2 = Carbon Dioxide; O = Oxygen ), among others. However, we are only interested in approaching the acronym, the acronym and the abbreviation as they are the ones that cause the most confusion.
Word formed by reducing a group of words to their initials, and which is pronounced spelled, that is, letter by letter.
APD = P ublic Aid to Development
BPC = Savings and Credit Bank _
DGCDC = D epartment of G are for Competencies and C aerer D evelopment
Word formed by joining letters or initial syllables of a group of words, which is pronounced in an integrated way, as a single word, respecting, in general, the syllabic structure of the language.
DARGD = File Department, Registry and G are in Data
MESCTI = M inistry of Higher Education , Science , T echnology and I novation
MINFIN = MIN FIN ancestry
The abbreviation is, in turn, a conventional form of graphic representation of a word by writing only a subset of its letters followed by a period. In the abbreviation, the reduction only occurs in writing, not affecting the pronunciation of the word. That is, the abbreviated word continues to be read as a whole word. Convention implies that a group agrees to a certain short form.
Dr. = Doctor
Mr. = sir
There seems to be no doubt that the acronym, the acronym and the abbreviation correspond to different processes of reduction of a word. The abbreviation, above all, seems to be easier to understand.
As mentioned above, it is still common to confuse the terms with each other. We bring here for discussion the cases contained in the Report of the National Institute of Statistics of Angola. Let's focus on the image below that Report:
If we consider the theoretical aspects presented here, regarding what is an acronym, an acronym and an abbreviation, we can easily recognize differences between the chosen title and the various phenomena of reduction to which the title refers. As we said at the beginning of our approach, the existence of dots after each letter of an acronym would allow us to distinguish it from the acronym. We think that the tendency to suppress the dots is justified to demonstrate that the acronym is a lexical item in its own right. The existence of dots separating each of the letters could condition the classification of the acronym as a word.
Thus, with the disappearance of the dots in the acronym, the syllabic criterion became the fundamental element to distinguish the acronym from the acronym. That said, the words ODA, AVE, CAD and COPACE are not currently regarded as acronyms, but rather as acronyms. They are acronyms because ODA, AVE, CAD and COPACE obey a certain syllabic organization of the language, that is, a rhythmic organization of speech. They are not pronounced letter by letter. In these acronyms we recognize syllabic patterns of the Portuguese language:
the DA; A VE = CV (consonant + vowel)
CAD = CVC (consonant + vowel + consonant)
CO PACE = CV (consonant + vowel)
It is wrong to think that words from other linguistic systems, even if obeying the syllabic pattern of the Portuguese language, should not be considered acronyms. Regarding ODA (Official Development Assistance), AVE (Added Value Equivalents) and CAD (Development Assistance Committee), although each of the letters corresponds to the initial letters of English words, this does not preclude their classification as an acronym. For example, in the case of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), nobody pronounces this item letter by letter: NATO. But, yes, with one word: NATO. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is also not pronounced letter by letter. By this we mean that it is not wrong to pronounce SADC as a single word [SADEC]. The word UN,
In the case of CO 2, in the figure above, it is neither an abbreviation nor an acronym, but a symbol, more specifically a brachygraphic one, that is, a combination of letters and numbers.
As there is no abbreviation in the entire section “Abbreviations and Acronyms” of the Angola Statistics Institute's Report, the most correct title would be: Acronyms, Acronyms and Symbols.
Acronyms and acronyms generally do not inflect in number, that is, they almost never occur in the plural, although this occurs in some cases (eg LDCs = Least Developed Countries). Inflection in number is not recommended.