Seoul, Gang-nam (Yes the song), 1990. I was 7 year old. Optimism was in the air in South Korea — we just had the 88’ Olympics — the nation’s proof to the world that South Korea was ready to enter the world as a strong economic force. Trade and wealth was everywhere, advancements in infrastructure were happening daily, rapidly and surely transforming it into a new 1st world nation.
Then came the dreadful snowstorm — harsh winter winds from Siberia blew into Seoul, enveloping it in thick snow. I was walking home from school, 1st grade — a snot nosed child of democracy, now struggling to walk against the snowy winds of Siberia. In a world covered by white snow, my little eyes saw a bright, red neon light glimmering in the distance. I walked towards it, attracted by its unusually attractive allure — its was a sign of a store, written in a language I had never seen before. I entered this store, bright warm yellow lights, smells I’ve never smelt before, furniture all in red leather, people running around everywhere...
Guess what that red neon light sign I saw outside was?
KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). I don’t need to tell you what this acronym stands for. You have plenty of them here in Novosibirsk. I saw one walking near Lenin’s statue the other day. Acronyms — are very useful tools in English and if you ever visit an anglosphere nation one day, you will find yourself using them daily. The rule is simple — you take the first letter of each word of an object, noun or verb and form a single word. Almost never the last letter nor the middle letter. But sometimes, integrating the second letter is allowed. Common examples include:
AC — Air Conditioning
BYOB — Bring Your Own Beer
ID — Identification (Driver’s license, passport)
SOB — Son of a Bitch
TGIF — Thank God It’s Friday
Acronyms are used constantly in both daily and formal conversations — at work, in business, even down at the pub. So next time you hear a word you don’t recognise, chances are that it is an acronym. In that case, pause the conversation and ask the person speaking to clarify if the word just spoken is an acronym. If it is, he / she will get the message and break the acronym down for you to understand.
English is a very verbose language indeed, thank god there are tools like acronym to help shorten it.
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