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Brad Fitzpatrick

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articles indicating how writer reads abbreviations [Jun. 19th, 2007|12:21 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
It's always amusing to pay attention to people's articles, to see how they're internally reading abbreviations.

e.g.:
I've got an LJ. ("an el jay")
I've got a LJ. ("a LiveJournal")

But sadder, this article. I believe the only correct pronounciation of LOLcat is "lawlcat", never "el oh el cat". I suspect the original writer of the article had a clue, then an editor came along and "fixed" the article.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ydna
2007-06-19 07:24 pm (UTC)
lima oscar lima
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[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2007-06-19 07:49 pm (UTC)
"This is a picture of an lolcat" - wrong.

"I has an lolcat picture!" - correct!
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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-06-19 10:50 pm (UTC)
hahahaha
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[User Picture]From: mart
2007-06-19 07:52 pm (UTC)

Funny you should mention this. I noticed this too, so I started trying to mess with people's heads either by using an article that doesn't make sense (an GIF or a APNG, for example) or just using "a" consistently because the "a"/"an" distinction makes no sense in written English, especially when what follows is an acronym or an initialism.

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[User Picture]From: joshc
2007-06-19 09:56 pm (UTC)
Aside from the editor's choice of article, the caption is blatantly incorrect. The photo of the kitten has been transofrmed into a LOLcat by virtue of the giant sans-serif "I'M IN UR NEWSPAPER WRITIN MAH COLUMN".

(see also, http://slate.com/id/2166338/ and their usage of "laugh-out-loud cats", which decklin called "Folk etymology for the 21st century!" [lj])
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[User Picture]From: dossy
2007-06-19 09:58 pm (UTC)
How about we just agree to eliminate those redundnat articles "a" and "an" and use "the" instead.

"I has teh LOLcats!!"

Otherwise, you end up with tomfoolery like:

"Did you just surf an Internet?"
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[User Picture]From: erik
2007-06-19 10:19 pm (UTC)
What I don't get is why "an" is consistently used before words beginning in "h", as in, "an holiday." Maybe there was a time when h's were usually silent - "an 'oliday?". In any case it's an outdated grammatical rule.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-06-19 10:34 pm (UTC)
I've never seen that.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2007-06-20 06:51 am (UTC)

You need to hang around with more British people that drop the H on the start of words!

(I don't.)

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From: jamesd
2007-06-20 04:11 pm (UTC)
That's interesting. I associate it with pretentious and clueless US people, not British people.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2007-06-20 05:13 pm (UTC)

H-dropping is quite common in Estuary English, along with lots of other interesting oddities that are enumerated on Wikipedia.

R fink dat e neva went daan the taan ta get da buʔa on Fursdee, coz e woz at my ass, wonny? R saw rim jumpeen!

I also found an interesting recording that features lots of H-dropping via Wikipedia.

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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-06-19 10:47 pm (UTC)
Oh weird, I JUST posted the same question!!!
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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-06-19 10:49 pm (UTC)
I just called my English major friend. She said that in an example with 'an historic event', the 'h' kind of considered silent (probably a throw back to what you mentioned.)
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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-06-19 10:50 pm (UTC)
I always forget you can edit comments. A good example of this is British English vs American English.

'a herb' (a h-erb)
and
'an herb' (an `erb)
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[User Picture]From: fanf
2007-06-20 09:13 am (UTC)
No, it's pretentious not British. Words beginning with h should take a not an. Some people insist on "an historic" and AFAICT they tend to be American more than British - this kind of rigid adherence to nonsense rules seems to be more popular in leftpondia. Another example is the that/which distinction which is not strictly observed over here.

Compare the Guardian Style Guide and the Economist Style Guide - the former says "a historic" and the latter "an historic", and the latter is aiming for a more highbrow and international readership.
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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-06-19 10:46 pm (UTC)
an illegal event
a great event
a stupid event

So...

Is it 'an historic event' or 'a historic event?'

If it is 'an historic event' then why isn't it 'an stupid event?'

I think I just confused myself, haha. I need sleep.

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[User Picture]From: decklin
2007-06-19 10:56 pm (UTC)
This bit of code has always amused me. (see also the ADD USER-DEFINED INFLECTIONS bit.)
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[User Picture]From: dakus
2007-06-20 01:14 am (UTC)
hey, i got an livejournal!
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[User Picture]From: antihope
2007-06-20 02:13 am (UTC)
Mostly off topic, but it just occured to me today that the B in .bml may have stood for "brad"? I really have no idea why I didn't think about it until today, especially since the pages are no longer bml.

Sorry for off-topic. But the abbreviations did remind me.
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[User Picture]From: dakus
2007-06-20 02:49 am (UTC)
i thunk it mean "better"?
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[User Picture]From: mart
2007-06-20 06:52 am (UTC)

You knows it.

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[User Picture]From: mendel
2007-06-20 02:27 pm (UTC)
"A cat macro".
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[User Picture]From: da_zu
2007-06-20 09:24 pm (UTC)
Hm.. very interesting. I have never thought of it when I wrote in English.. In Russia the main problem with acronyms is gender. There are so many rules for it that almost everybody says it wrong.
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[User Picture]From: anildash
2007-06-20 09:58 pm (UTC)
i just want to mention that this article credits me as a "legendary blogger". So you know, if you want it autographed, I'm available.
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