ACRONYMS and the English Language

Douglas B Hanson (dhanson@WORLD.STD.COM)
Fri, 25 Mar 1994 14:53:16 -0500

I've just finished reading a 2000 word paper in computer science that had
no less than 43 different acronyms. Many of these were repeated throughout
the paper so that I came across 75 acronyms during my reading. Although
computer science and technology and military documents tend to be the worst
offenders when it comes to acronyms, this is no longer a problem restricted
to these disciplines. Whenever I pick up a scientific journal and read an
article, I am usually besieged by acronyms and over the years many of these
acronyms have become standardized (legitimized??) in the literature. It has
gotten so that I need to carry a cheat-sheet around with me just so that I
can remember what the acronym stands for. How do these acronyms get
legitimized in the literature and do other languages use acronyms as
frequently as we do in the English language? TTFN and TGIF.

Douglas B. Hanson, Ph.D.
Bioengineering Department
Forsyth Dental Center
140 Fenway
Boston, MA 02115