The paper deals with attempts made by Russian linguists in research connected with classifications of abbreviations and acronyms in particular. Acronyms are defied as specific structural shortened units represented by initials, initial syllables of words and phrases. They are pronounced as words. On the one hand, acronyms embody the significative meaning of a common word, which acquires a new reference. Some word- like acronyms carry two types of information: basically about the referent and additionally connotative information with a humorous or different colouring. The author puts forward classification of acronyms of business communication of nine types.
abbreviations, acronyms, extralinguistic and intralinguistic factors, qualitative transformations
The vocabulary of the language is in a state of continuous development. Thanks to the formation of new words, there is a constant replenishment of the lexical composition of the language. One of the productive ways of forming new words is abbreviation or shortening of words and phrases. As a result of reduction process production of neologisms, "units of secondary nomination with the status of a word,” is observed [Kubryakova 1981, p. 71].
Formation of abbreviations is explained by the action of two factors, extralinguistic and intralinguistic. In accordance with the laws of dialectics, extralinguistic factors reflect qualitative transformations in the picture of the surrounding world: social and interethnic changes, scientific and technological progress. Their characteristic feature is the dialectical dynamics of development. Intralinguistic factors are determined by the action of internal laws that define the development of language as "the immediate reality of thought" [Karl Marxonary]. As one important extralinguistic factor, it is appropriate to name the law of saving linguistic means and speech efforts [Martine 2009, p.166].
On the other hand, linguistics recognizes the effects of two other trends. The kinematic tendency stimulates language changes and determines its evolution [Jespersen 1925, 128]. Excessive volatility of the language is counteracted by a static tendency, due to which the language is preserved as a system [Lightfood 1991, p. 45].
Due to the action of these two tendencies, the language maintains stability as a system and remains in a state of equilibrium. However, being an open-type system, it is enriched under the influence of extralinguistic factors following transformations in the surrounding reality.
The term acronym (from other-Greek. άκρος - the highest, the extreme (here is used in the meaning of the initial) + όνυμος — name) is a special group of abbreviations represented by initials, initial syllables of words and phrases. Acronymy and acrophony are a special way of creating nominative units in accordance with the tendency of the language system to form abbreviations. The resulting abbreviation, which is called acronym, is pronounced as a word.
Acronymy should be considered as the action of evolution within the language as a system. In accordance with the law of economy of linguistic means and speech efforts, business and scientific terminology of different subsystems, which is usually represented by multicomponent phrases of several terms, is transformed into compact speech units. In the antinomy of "the Speaker and the Listener" such lexical units are more understandable to both the Speaker and the Listener or the Sender and the Addressee of information in business communication, and they are easy to pronounce and remember [Panov 2007, 17].
Acronyms as lexical units with special types of compression contribute to optimization of business and scientific terminology. A multicomponent word is accumulated in an acronym in a special way in a compressed form. It also seems important that at the same time the acronym embodies the significative meaning of a common word, which acquires a new reference. Acronyms, which are homonymous with common words, become carriers of two types of information: they convey both significative information about the referent and connotative information that renders a humorous, comic, ironic coloring to the utterance. Here are some examples: MUD - municipal utility district, WAR - with all risks, BOP - balance of payment («вор» - it is “a thief” in Russian), HEL(l) – home equity loan, BECON - Boston Exchange Automated Communication (БИКОН), («бекон» - it is “bacon” in Russian). As it is obvious from the examples some acronyms have specific connotations in Russian which make them easy to remember: ZEBRAS – Zero coupon eurosterling bearer or registered accruing securities.
The model is a commonly used word with which the abbreviation interpretation coincides. Here again are some examples: ICON – index currency option note, GRIP – guaranteed recovery of investment principle, SUNFED – Special United Nations Fund of Economic Development, AIMS – Amsterdam Interprofessional Market System.
Attempts have been made to classify abbreviations based on their structure and the nature of their constituent components. Borisov V.V. defines two types of abbreviations: syntactic and morphological. Syntactic abbreviations include abbreviations in which the whole components of the phrase are omitted, namely abbreviations with ellipses. To the morphological type, Borisov V.V. attributes clippings, initial abbreviations and abbreviations of various types (with clippings and shortening of initials combined) [Borisov 1972, p. 120-121].
Business terminology as a specific subsystem of the language serves the field of business activities of people. “The English-Russian Dictionary of acronyms and abbreviations of business terminology” (Maximova T.V. 2002) served in the given paper as the source for classification of acronyms of business communication. An attempt was made by Ardamatsraya E.N. [ Ardamatsraya 2007, p.40] to classify marine terminology when 11 types of acronyms were described but some of them do not refer to acronyms.
Classification of acronyms of business communication:
Type I - Classical acronyms formed by initials: AASE - Australian Associated Stock Exchanges, IMRO – Investment Managers Regulation Organization, PSAF - private sector adjustment factor;
Type II - Acronyms that include the initials of the components of complex words of a complete phrase: GEMMA – Gilt-Edged Market-Makers Association, VIBOR – Vienna interbank offered rate, AIBOR - Amsterdam Interbank Offered Rate;
Type III - Acronyms that include shortenings of all elements of a complete multicomponent phrase: VFM - value for money, VERs - voluntary export restraints;
Type IV - Acronyms formed with an ellipse of service elements of an unshortened phrase - OMB - Office of Management and Budget, ABAAA - Associate of British Association of Accountants and Auditors;
Type V - Acronyms formed by initials with an ellipse of significant full-valued elements of an unabridged phrase: BECON - Boston Exchange Automated Communication Order-routing Network, PUHCA - Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, UNEUROP – United Nations European Economic Association, HIBOR – Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (“ХИБОР” in Russian), PUPOR - population size of usual place of residence;
Type VI - Acronyms formed from initials and initial fragments: UNCITRAL – United Nations Commition on International Trade Law, ABECOR – Associated Banks of Europe Corporation, ALCO – asset-liability committee;
Type VII – Acronyms formed from initial fragments; INSTINET – Institutional Networks Corporation;
Type VIII – Acronyms formed by initials and initial elements of the source language (French): AGEFI – Agence economique et financiere (“АЖЕФИ” in Russian), UNICE – Union des Industries de la Communauté Eupopéenne;
Type VII - Acronyms formed with the help of ellipses и телескопии; IFOX – Irish Futures and Options Exchange,
Type VIII - Acronyms formed from initials, initial fragments and monosyllabic words: Incoterms – International Commercial Terms, Unibank – United International Bank;
Type IX - Abbreviated monosyllabic words of a meaningful phrase, usually used for IT communication: GIGO – garbage in, garbage out; WISIWYG – What y(i)ou see is what you get.
In the corpus of the dictionary nine classes of acronyms were identified. It is important to sum up that under the influence of extralinguistic factors exerting pressure on the terminological system of business communication there is a definite tendency for generation of word-like terminology. It is appropriate to recall and list some of the extralinguistic factors: the necessity of saving time and paper and speech efforts. There is a selective tendency in the language for acronyms as a specific type of abbreviations. They are not only convenient to pronounce but also easier to remember because acronyms generate associations with common words. In terms of the significative meaning it is possible to distinguish different connotations of funny, humorous or other content. As a result in the antinomy of "the Speaker and the Listener" or the Sender and the Addressee of information the balance is shifting in the direction of the Addressee.
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