What is an acronym? An acronym can be muppet, which is born from the union of "tele" and "muñeco", but UFO or AIDS are also acronyms... What do they consist of, then?
We use the RAE dictionary and discover that it explains it to us in a simple and effective way. Let's see:
On the one hand, an acronym is the term formed by the union of elements of two or more words: muppet, television and doll; docudrama, dramatic documentary; Mercosur, from the Common Market of the South. On the other hand, the acronym is also called the acronym that is pronounced as a word: NATO, UFO, AIDS.
It is very common that the latter, after a first phase in which they appear written in capital letters due to their original status as acronyms (UFO, AIDS), end up being incorporated into the common lexicon of the language and are written in lowercase letters (UFO, AIDS), except , naturally, the initial when it comes to names that require the writing of this letter with a capital letter (Unesco, Unicef).
The formation of initials and acronyms is a widespread phenomenon in Anglo-Saxon countries, especially in scientific-technical fields. Thus, many words have been incorporated into our language that are, originally, English acronyms or acronyms: radar, for ra[dio] d[etecting] a[nd] r[anging]; laser, by l[ight] a[mplification by] s[timulated] e[mission of] r[adiation]; púsar or pulsar, from puls[ating st]ar.
In some cases, acronyms of foreign origin have been adapted or translated into Spanish: we say AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), and no aids (acquired immune deficiency syndrome); NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and not NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
What about the plural of acronyms? Are we talking about UFOs or UFOs? The radars or the radars? Forget strange constructions: once incorporated into the common lexicon, acronyms form the plural following the general rules of their formation in Spanish: UFOs, UCIS, radars, transistors...
We must also talk about the gender of acronyms. Are they male or female? It turns out that, as the RAE tells us, most of the acronyms formed by the union of elements of two or more words have adopted the masculine gender, even when, in the translation, the core word of the abbreviated foreign expression is feminine; thus, a pulsar is said, even though star (engl. star) is feminine; a quasar, even though source is feminine.
Sometimes the masculine is explained by implying an elided masculine concept: the laser [beam], even though light is feminine. On the other hand, acronyms that originate from abbreviations normally adopt the gender of the core word of the complete denomination: ICU (because unit is a feminine word), AIDS (because syndrome is a masculine word).
And, if according to the accentuation rules, a tilde corresponds to them, do we put it? If the acronyms have been incorporated into the general lexicon and are therefore written in lower case, they are subject to the rules of graphic accentuation in Spanish, as occurs in laser.
Finally, you should know that the acronyms are read as they are written, without developing the abbreviated elements.
Here are some more examples of acronyms:
-Acronyms that merge or combine two words:
Emoticon, from emoticon = emotion + icon, emotion and icon.
Informatics, automatic information = informatics + matics.
-Transformation in acronym from acronyms:
Aena, Spanish Airports and Air Navigation.
Ave, Spanish High Speed.
led/ledes, from the English Light Emitting Diode ('light emitting diode').
midi/midis, from the English Musical Instruments Digital Interface (digital interface for musical instruments).
ufo/ufos, unidentified flying object.
radar/radars, from the English Radio Detection and Ranging ('detection and measurement of distances by radio').
Renfe, National Network of Spanish Railways.
AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Talgo, Articulated Light Train Goicoechea Oriol
Unesco, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
-Acronyms formed from the initial syllables of several words:
Polisario Front, Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguía el Hamra and Río de Oro.