Monday, June 21, 2004

Acronymic Acrimony

The college I work for used to be called the “College of Business Administration and Economics,” a.k.a. COBAE (pronounced "co-bay"). Close observers will notice that the acronym doesn’t quite match the words. Why should “of” get representation while “and” does not? I figured the acronym should be either “COBAAE” or “CBAE.” I attributed the use of “COBAE” to its greater ease of pronunciation.

But then the faculty voted a couple of years ago to shorten the college’s name to “College of Business and Economics.” Ah, I thought – finally the COBAE acronym will have become accurate. To my surprise, many people here now refer to the college as COBE. Having subtracted “Administration” from the full title, they subtracted an “A” from the acronym. I see the logic, but I still protest. I’m willing to give nouns privileged treatment (as in CBE) or not (as in COBAE), but I can’t abide the disparate treatment of conjunctions and prepositions. If “of” gets representation, so should “and,” since the new name has rendered the pronunciation issue moot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It might be that people only include the of (making hte o) because without a vowel the word would be very difficult. The A isn't necessary to make the word "sound like a word."