- It is, on the one hand, the term formed by the union of elements
of two or more words: muppet,televisionanddoll; docudrama,dramaticdocumentary; Mercosur,fromthe
Common Market of the South. On the other hand, an acronym is
also called an acronym that is pronounced like a word: NATO, UFO,
AIDS(→acronym). It is very common that the latter, after a
first phase in which they appear written in capital letters due to
their original condition as acronyms (UFO, AIDS), end up
being incorporated into the common lexicon of the language and are
written with lowercase letters (UFO, AIDS), except, of
course, the initial when it comes to names that require the writing
of this letter with a capital letter (Unesco, Unicef). The
acronyms usually omit for their formation the articles, prepositions
and conjunctions that appear in the complete name, except if they
are necessary to facilitate its pronunciation: ACUDE (for the
Association of Consumers and Users of Spain), pyme (for small
and medium-sized companies).
- The formation of initials and acronyms is a widespread
phenomenon in Anglo-Saxon countries, especially in
scientific-technical fields. Thus, numerous words have been
incorporated into our language that are, originally, English
initials 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) (→ acronym, 6).
- Once incorporated into the common lexicon, the acronyms form the
plural following the general rules of their formation in Spanish
(→ plural, 1): ovnis, ucis, radars, transistors.
- Most of the acronyms formed by the union of elements of two or
more words have adopted the masculine gender, even when, in
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 an elided masculine concept being
understood: the laser [beam], even though light)
is feminine. On the contrary, acronyms that originate from acronyms
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)
(→ acronym, 4).
- Only acronyms that have been incorporated into the general
lexicon and that, therefore, are written in lowercase, admit their
division with a hyphen at the end of the line and are subject to the
rules of graphic accentuation in Spanish: lá- / ser, ra - / give.
- The acronyms are read as they are written, without developing
the abbreviated elements.