Friday, 16 June 2017

Acronymophilia: Another Disease of Development

Acronymophilia is a disorder suffered by technical and professional writers. It is characterised by an excess reliance on acronyms and abbreviations.

In international development work there is a huge number of acronyms of which UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID, DFAT, OECD and JICA are just a few.

In Australian education we have DUD, GRR, GREAT and NAPLAN. If you do not know what these mean, Google NSW Education Department acronyms for an explanation. 
Some acronyms seem to evolve on their own accord. 

They seem to descend on their authors with an inevitability suggesting that the hapless author has lost control and suffers from acronymophilia. Either that or some authors are stunningly naïve! 
To illustrate an extreme case of naïvety: the acronym considered here is taken from a scientific paper that begin with a consideration of carbon nanotubes, abbreviated as CNTs. 
Then someone comes along and develops copper nanotubes. 
Of course, copper nanotubes need their own acronym, don't they? 
Now, proceeding from the chemical symbol for carbon, C, in carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and then Cu for copper ... 
Yes!  There you have it, the inevitable acronym for copper nanotubes! 

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