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In English, abbreviations have traditionally been written with a full stop/period/point in place of the deleted part to show the ellipsis of letters—although the colon and apostrophe have also had this role—and with a space after full stops (e.g. Such punctuation is diminishing with the belief that the presence of all-capital letters is sufficient to indicate that the word is an abbreviation.Some influential style guides, such as that of the BBC, no longer require punctuation to show ellipsis; some even proscribe it.By 1943, the term acronym had been used in English to recognize abbreviations (and contractions of phrases) that were pronounced as words. Others point out that language change has happened for thousands of years, and argue that it should be embraced as inevitable, or as innovation that adapts the language to changing circumstances.In English, acronyms pronounced as words may be a 20th-century phenomenon. In this view, the modern practice is just as legitimate as those in "proper" English of the current generation of speakers, such as the abbreviation of corporation names in places with limited writing space (e.g., ticker tape, newspaper column inches).Acronyms are often taught as mnemonic devices, for example in physics the colors of the visible spectrum are said to be "ROY G.BIV" ("red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet"). They are also used as mental checklists, for example in aviation: "GUMPS", which is "gas-undercarriage-mixture-propeller-seatbelts".
It gives students a way to review the meanings of the acronyms introduced in a chapter after they have done the line-by-line reading, and also a way to quiz themselves on the meanings (by covering up the expansion column and recalling the expansions from memory, then checking their answers by uncovering).
Linguist David Wilton in Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends claims that "forming words from acronyms is a distinctly twentieth- (and now twenty-first-) century phenomenon. In formal writing for a broad audience, the expansion is typically given at the first occurrence of the acronym within a given text, for the benefit of those readers who do not know what it stands for.
There is only one known pre-twentieth-century [English] word with an acronymic origin and it was in vogue for only a short time in 1886. The capitalization of the original term is independent of it being acronymized, being lowercase for a common noun such as frequently asked questions (FAQ) but uppercase for a proper noun such as the United Nations (UN) (as explained at Case Casing of expansions).
In addition, the online medium offers yet more aids, such as tooltips, hyperlinks, and rapid search via search engine technology. An acronym may have different meanings in different areas of industry, writing, and scholarship.
The general reason for this is convenience and succinctness for specialists, although it has led some to obfuscate the meaning either intentionally, to deter those without such domain-specific knowledge, or unintentionally, by creating an acronym that already existed.