Internationalization aka i18n

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Xollob | 17:07 Fri 20th Jan 2006 | Phrases & Sayings
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In computing, internationalization is often abbreviated to i18n, where "18" indicates the number of letters missing betwen "i" and "n".

Is there a name for this linguistic device?


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Sorry, link should be internationalization.
Sorry, X, that I do not know the actual answer, but it seems to me that it ought to be called a "sloppy coded abbreviation"...a form of text-speak. How, for example - other than context - do people who use it distinguish it from 'institutionalisation' which also has 18 letters between the 'i' and the 'n'?
Personally, I think things like this belong among nonsenses such as 'L8R' for later or - heaven save us! - LOL!
But you use CHEERS for thank you, Quizmonster.
Question Author
Mr Quizmonster (or may I call you QM?), you answered your own question: whenever i18n is used, the context is usually very clear. I don't normally like all this txtspk, LOL and other assorted b6s, but this particular numeronym (thanks, Kempie) has saved me many keystrokes over the years.
I'm not sure what point you're making, Golden. Of course, I often use 'cheers' for 'thank you', as that is an absolutely standard usage in modern colloquial English. I've never heard or seen the so-called word 'i18n'.
From what I've seen in Kempie's link-page, it seems to be much as I suspected...a creation from the same 'stable' as 'L8R'...namely, the computery/internetty/mobile-phoney world of sloppy abbreviations.
From here on in, I think we should all use 'a26m' to mean 'antidisestablishmentarianism'. (Not!) Rather, I'll wait until either Chambers or TOED actually lists the word 'numeronym', since neither currently does, including the latter's online version. bye-bye.
Question Author
Hallo QM, "i18n" has been around since 1985, apparently, and throws up over 8m hits in Google.
Interesting article here for those interested in this kind of phenomenon.
Blame it all on Mr Scherpenhuizen!
Im with Quizmonster on this one, the i18n is in the same bone-idle stable as L8R. Yes it�s quicker to abbreviate text on mobile phones, but regrettably this has transcended into becoming the norm for many when actually writing. Unfortunately as many pages on this website confirm the standard of literacy and spelling has declined as technology improves.
I read your link, X, and - as I suggested - the term was born in the computer world. The fact that it was possibly just a joke hadn't occurred to me, I must admit!
I know that people's work differs enormously, but just who has to type the word 'internationalisation' - or its 'z' variant - so frequently that it needs to be abbreviated at all?
I can't see that it is any different from the jargon of any other tight specialisation (s12n?), so I don't imagine it will ever become common outside that small circle, despite the Google hits.
Clearly, the editors of Chambers Dictionary, for example, have chosen to overlook it for twenty years, so I think I'll do the same!
I'm glad, though, that Kempie came up with the name of the process for you, however, as its use in "9/11", for instance is significant.
The way you use CHEERS, Quizmonster, is not "standard usage in modern colloquial English" (what pretentious rubbish) but is the gibberish of the crassly ignorant.


"interjection (informal)...good health! (used when drinking a toast); thank you!; cheerio, goodbye!"

Guess what that is the dictionary entry for, Mr Shred. You've got it! It's the entry for 'cheers' taken from the 2003 edition of Chambers Dictionary. It quite clearly covers both my uses of that word here...and I do use it in the pub, too, so that covers all my uses of it. Their word 'informal' is directly equivalent to my word 'colloquial' in speech terms, so I got that right, too.

I'm sure the editors of Chambers would be distressed that you consider them to be "pretentious, crass and ignorant". On the other hand, I think they'll get over will I.

Could it just be that the boot is really on the other foot?

You know it is wrong. Put a stop to it. And don't grizzle so much.
Oh dear, oh dear!

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