Tuesday, May 17, 2005
FED Files - Volume III
When I first started with the Feds, I felt like an alien (not the green kind, but the 'from a different country' kind). The language that is used here is barely English. It's like these people have their own dialect. I call this Acronymics. You'll notice the root word is "Acronym" meaning "A word formed by the initial letters of a multi-word name.*"
Most of the time, these words are spelled out when they're used in a sentence. Example: "I work for D-R-M-S (The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service)." And these acronyms are not as hard to follow - once, of course, you know where you work and your general function. Case in point, if you work for the Department of Defense (which I do), it can be assumed that any acronym that begins with a "D" starts with the word "Defense" (like DRMS).
There are many good tips on Acronym decoding (if you're too proud to walk around with 15 sheets of paper entitled "Most Common Acronyms" like I did), however the tips are all irrelevant when words have been created or used incorrectly to accommodate the letters of an acronym. Some of my favorite examples of this phenomena are as follows:
RCRA (Rick-Ra): Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
DLIS (Dee-Lis): Defense Logistics Information Service.
RIPL (Ripple): Receipt In Place Location.
ISA (Ee-Sa): Interagency Support Agreement.
DAISY (Like the flower): Defense Reutilization and Marketing Automated Information System.
Like learning any other language learning Government Acronyms requires much study and much time to perfect the nuances of the language. It is not necessarily essential to be fluent in English first, however since the rules of phonics may violate the rules of Acronymics.
*HyperDictionary: Online Dictionary