Every Word Can Be Abbreviated To Four Letters

A set of English words that can be written as four letter abbreviations, with the following caveats:
 abbr	-- abbreviation
 abvtd  -- abbreviated
 addr	-- address
 emgc   -- emergence
 emgy   -- emergency
 Engl   -- English
 govt	-- government
 impl	-- implementation
 intf	-- interface
 intl	-- international
 i18n	-- internationalization
 ltrs   -- letters
 mgfly  -- meaningfully
 no	-- no
 num	-- number
 numb	-- numb 
 nmrc	-- numeric
 really -- really
 revw	-- review
 schd	-- schedule
 srvc	-- service
 server -- server
 work	-- work
 yes	-- yes

I fail to see the point of this page, could some one explain?

I suspect that this approach would have various advantages:

[discussion moved to RelationalDatabaseFieldNames]


Thank you for your kind advice. In future I shall save time by abbreviating 'yes' to 'yes' and 'no' to 'no'.


Does this page rlly mean to clam that evry engl word can be mfly abbd to four ltrs?

Does this page really mean to claim that every English word can be meaningfully abbreviated to four letters? How would the system distinguish, say "emergency" from "emergence"? I for one would hope that if the former were at hand, it could never be mistaken. --StevenNewton

I don't know, let's try this and see if it works out. Perhaps this is a rather ambitious project after all. Maybe cheating a bit and going to five once in a while would make it work.

How about "implement", "implicate", "implicit", "implication"?

"Stephen Pinker's book "The Language Instinct" tells about some researchers who figured the average American high-school graduate knows approximately 45,000 words. This is an underestimate because the researchers (Nagy and Anderson) excluded proper names, numbers, foreign words and acronyms." http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=160593

"Vocabulary Analysis of Project Guttenberg" by Zachary Booth Simpson, May 2000 http://www.mine-control.com/zack/guttenberg/index.html mentions "there are only a limited number of words in the English language (~400,000 in this sample)"

There are only 30000 or so possible four letter words
Only if you care about being able to pronounce them. There are 26^4 = 456 976 four letter combinations. A few more if you add in two and three letter combinations. (and no, srvc is not something I could pronounce.)

I'm not sure I like the idea of trying to make everything a FourLetterWord?...

"Terseness is itself a virtue insufficiently appreciated. Who has not had the experience of reading a long sentence, involving difficult concepts, or complex relations, and found that at the end of the sentence he had forgotten the beginning? If you cannot express an idea briefly, then a combination of ideas may become so awkward that its expression is not just difficult, but impossible. Yet in English, for example, we use unnecessarily long words because most of the one-syllable words have not been allocated." -- The Language of Superman http://www.cryonics.org/chapter1_6.html

"One line replaces ten. How can a piece of code that is an order of magnitude too large be considered reliable ? There is that much greater chance for confusion, and hence for the introduction of bugs. There is that much more that must be understood in order to make evolutionary changes." -- in the "being too complicated" section of "Programming Style: Examples and Counterexamples" article by BrianKernighan & PjPlauger reprinted in ClassicsInSoftwareEngineering book edited by Edward Nash Yourdon 1979 (EditHint: is there a better place for the above quote ? -- DavidCary)

This is vaguely reminiscent of "star codes". Mark Nelson looked at eight of Shakespeare's plays and found 16904 distinct words (not counting 1-letter words), which is less than 26^3 = 17 576.

  But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
  It is the East, and Iuliet is the Sunne,
  Arise faire Sun and kill the enuious Moone,
  Who is already sicke and pale with griefe,
  That thou her Maid art far more faire then she

B** *of*, **a* **g** *****g* ***d*r ***do* b*e***? It *s *** E**t, **d ***i** *s *** *u**e, A***e **i** *un **d k*** *** e****** M****, *ho *s a****** **c*e **d **le ***h ****fe, ***t ***u *e* *ai* *r* f*r **r* **i** ***n s**

*43 *1069, *41 *349 *469 *1492 *2583 *12782? *114 *7 *0 *2550, *1 *417 *7 *0 *931, *5359 *193 *902 *1 *521 *0 *1548 *616, *168 *7 *1283 *731 *1 *695 *13 *1042, *34 *21 *27 *938 *144 *3817 *49 *193 *37 *67
-- from "Star-Encoding in C++" by Mark Nelson, August, 2002 http://dogma.net/markn/articles/Star/

(Are there pages on this wiki, or some other wiki, that talk about DataCompression? ?)


Obviously the mapping from English words to 4 character sequences is onto but not 1-1 :-), that is, naturally, some words would have the same 4 letter abbreviation. When there are multiple words with the same abbreviation, hopefully you could determine the correct one from context. Abbreviations dont suffer from this alone, by the way... English pronounciation itself can be indeterminate... compare "read" in 'I will read it' to 'I have read it'.

And if you were writing a note in an emergency, its probably better not to skimp on details in exchange for efficiency :-)


See also SoundEx

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