Acronyms have a nasty way of creeping into our daily language, nestling in, and, poof; we forget the original meaning, and they are a word of their own – if they are pronounceable. This happened to radar and other terms. You’ll have to Google the meaning because I’ve forgotten. There see what I mean?
A university puts out an annual list of words that should be retired because of overuse. This year GOAT, the acronym for greatest of all time, is leading the list. They seem to think that we’ll all obey just because they say so. That’s not the way language operates.
Perhaps we should be more reserved in constructing these selections of letters, so they don’t trip so well off the English-speaking tongue. The inquisitive mind will find thousands of snappy acronyms popular in print but not easy to pronounce as a word in English: WYSIWYG( what you see is what you get) comes to mind. In English, it does not trip so smoothly across the tongue. Which raises the question, what about acronyms in other languages? would WYSIWYG fluidly flow from the tip of a tongue speaking another language?
Pursuing this a bit further, if WYSIWYG became an overused word, would it wind up on the banned word list? Or is there a rampant preference for banning only English words here? Prejudice?
OK, WYSIWYG is indeed just one measly little acronym from the Trans Voltaic Urdu family of languages. But dammit! the sheer ” English privilege” of this list bothers me. Can we sanction such linguistic exclusivity in a world seemingly growing smaller every year?
I say no and shall spend the year fighting it. It will be my biggest challenge of 2023, but I will persevere.
Justice and fairplay for all – JAFFA!