Heartattacronyms

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Heartattacronyms

Post by Meirav Micklem » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:10 pm

Once more I feel obliged to share a gem from Ben Macintyre in the Times (Books section, Saturday 14 July):

But the most impossible acronym of all is to be found in the Concise [yes] Dictionary of Soviet Terminology, which cites “The Laboratory for Shuttering, Reinforcement, Concrete and Ferroconcrete Operations for Composite-Monolithic and Monolithic Constructions of the Department of the Technology of Building-assembly Operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organisation for Building Mechanisation and Technical Aid of the Academy of Building and Architecture of the USSR.” Or N I I O M T P L A B O P A R M B E T Z H E L B E T R A B S B O M O N I M O N K O N O T D T E K H S T R O M O N T for short.

This is known as a heartattacronym.


You can see the full article here - all about acronyms and initialisms.
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Heartattacronyms

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:30 pm

Ah yes, the outfit that poured the PLABOPARM at Chernobyl.
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Heartattacronyms

Post by LoisMartin » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:41 am

My personal favorite is "POTS," which stands for "plain old telephone service" and is used quite frequently in AT&T internal documentation. But it may have been replaced by the heartattacronym! Thanks, Mierav!
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Heartattacronyms

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jul 19, 2007 6:39 am

Meirav's heartattac(k)ronym is not an acronym in the normal sense, being made up mainly of the first few letters of its constituent words (as with 'Sci-fi' for 'science fiction').

I have been unable to determine what all the Russian words are on which it is based, although some elements are recognisable, for instance 'zhelbet' is presumably formed from 'zhelezobeton', meaning 'reinforced concrete' (or 'ferroconcrete'), and 'monimonkon' is presumably short for '[...]-monolitnye i monolitnye konstruktsii' ([...]-'monolithic and monolithic constructions').

It is also more than possible that some errors have crept into the transliteration of such a long word: these kinds of contractions were commonplace in the Soviet Union, given the ubiquitous official fondness in the USSR for setting up bureaucracies, and shortening the official names of the latter while still keeping them pronounceable was a normal practice; but the sequences 'MTPL' and 'TDT' are no more pronounceable in Russian than they are in English. (It is even possible that this acronym is a spoof -- did, or does, the organisation referred to, with its manifold layered structure ["Laboratory of Department of Institute of Organisation of Academy"], actually exist, let alone wish to be referred to by such a fearsome acronym?)

However, while we are on this topic, it seems appropriate to note that the colloquial descriptor for our Fearless Leader, Dubya, is also an acronym; in his case it is formed from 'Dumb by addling'.
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Heartattacronyms

Post by Meirav Micklem » Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:01 pm

Interesting. I wonder if there is a term for these non-acronym-type things - an abbreviation made by using not just the initials but a bit more. (BTW, I have no idea if this organisation really exists - you'll have to take it up with Ben Macintyre if you really want to know. I was only quoting, guv!)

Lois - thanks for the POTS!
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Heartattacronyms

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:20 pm

I suspect Ben Macintyre too may have been quoting without fact-checking.
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Heartattacronyms

Post by Edwin Ashworth » Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:04 pm

"However, while we are on this topic, it seems appropriate to note that the colloquial descriptor for our Fearless Leader, Dubya ..."
I thought we were ruled from Europe now, Erik - or are you one of those Agency translators?
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End of topic.
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