I’m thinking of a contrived acronym like the USA PATRIOT Act. I can’t think of other examples where an acronym is spelled out to make a word (or series of words) in the native language but I’m certain there are other instances.
Does this happen in non-English languages and, if so, what are they?
I can’t think of any examples in Dutch. Of course we shorten words, using only the first letters. But never into another word. So we talk about LNV that wants to vote against our POL. And abbreviations like NATO have become words in themselves. But we don’t have the equivalent of, for example, CAN (Clean Air Now).
Same deal in French. We certainly do use acronyms as words (we even give them genders. You might be interested to know NASA is a lady, but the FBI is a dude), but I can’t think of any acronym the letters of which form a real word.
حركة المقاومة الإسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-’Islāmīyah means ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’
and forms the acronym حماس Ḥamās meaning ‘zeal’.
أفواج المقاومة اللبنانية Afwāj al-Muqāwamah al-Lubnānīyah means ‘Detachments of Lebanese Resistance’
and forms the acronym أمل Amal meaning ‘hope’.
There’s one that goes backwards:
حركة التحرجر الوطني الفلسطينية Ḥarakat al-Taḥrīr al-Waṭanī al-Filasṭīnīyah means ‘Palestinian National Liberation Movement’
but that would form the acronym حتف Ḥataf which means ‘death’. Oops! So they acronymed it backwards and got فتح Fatḥ meaning ‘victory’.
In English they spell it Fatah with an extra -a- so that everyone can tell the t and h are separate letters and not the digraph “th” for the unvoiced dental fricative /θ/ (which would be a different letter in Arabic, ث).
The only German acronym I can think of that forms a word is (Die) PARTEI, the name of a German spoof political party.
Partei für Arbeit, Rechtsstaat, Tierschutz, Elitenförderung und basisdemokratische Initiative
(Party for Work, Rule of Law, Animal Welfare, Advancement of Elites, and Grassroot-Democratic Initiative).
It could even considered a recursive acronym…
Generally speaking, such an acronym that spells out a word would only be desirable in politics and non-commercial culture, not in business where most acronyms are generated, because you could not trademark the acronym.
Nope. It’s because the keyword in the acronym is A for Agency, which is a feminine noun. So the CIA, NSA and NASA are all feminine. The operative word in FBI is Bureau, which is masculine, hence the whole acronym is masculine. I wouldn’t try finding logic in noun genders in general though. Down that road, madness lies
However, I just realized something - while we either pronounce NSA, CIA, NASA, NATO and so on as french words or french acronyms (i.e. CIA is say-ee-ah), we always pronounce FBI the English way (eff-bee-aye) rather than eff-beh-ee as we should. I have no idea why.
Hebrew acronyms don’t necessarily spell out existing words, but they’re all pronounced as words, not as their constituent letters. Commonly used ones do eventually become words in their own rights - a few Israeli political parties’ names are based on acronyms, like Likud and Meretz. I’ve also heard people refer to the US as “Arhab”, the acronym for “Artzot Ha’Brit,” its proper name, although this sounds quite silly to me.
I was trying to think of some Bulgarian examples and could only come up with one - there’s a Roma rights organization called СЕГА:
Старт за (Start for)
I pronounce CIA and NSA as English letters, even in French. As for NATO, it is of course OTAN in French, and this is what I use in French.
My university has a research group called MOIVRE, which stands for MOdélisation en Imagerie, Vision et RÉseaux de neurones (okay, not a real acronym, but still) and is a reference to French-English mathematician Abraham de Moivre. I’m sure there are other examples.
In Mexican Spanish, the American CIA is pronounced phonetically as a word: la “see-uh.” The FBI is interesting, as some people use the Spanish pronounciation for the letters (efay be ee), and others pronounce it as we do (but with a Mexican accent). Some of their organizations are prounced as words, such as IFE (their nationalized electrical company) or PEMEX (their nationalized petroleum company), but I’ve not happened upon one that spells an actual Spanish word (but I’ll be on the lookout now). Well, there’s the PAN (their non-backward politcal party), but I’m faily certain that they’re not trying to imply “bread” to the people.
It seems some European Union programs and studies also have word-acronyms.
ERASMUS = European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students
LIFE+ = L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environnement
LEADER = Liaison entre actions de développement de l’économie rurale
PHARE = Poland and Hungary: Aid for Restructuring of the Economies
MEDIA = Mesures pour Encourager le Développement de l´Industrie Audiovisuelle
PRIME = Privacy and Identity Management for Europe
REFLEX (study) = risk evaluation of potential environmental hazards from low energy electromagnetic field exposure using sensitive in vitro methods