latin abbreviations - Latin Abbreviations One of the best...

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www.lsa.umich.edu/umma/ Latin Abbreviations—1 Latin Abbreviations One of the best descriptions of what scholars should aim for in their writing is in the opening sentences of A Handbook for Scholars , by Mary-Claire van Leunen. She says: Scholarly writing is formal, accurate, and allusive. It has to be. It does not have to be wooden, Fnicking, and cabalistic. Latin abbreviations are one of the easiest ways to make your writing wooden, Fnicking and cabalistic. And that’s as- suming that you use them correctly. Many people don’t. Be- fore you write that Latin abbreviation, consider that there are two reasons why you probably shouldn’t use it. One, because you should try not to use Latin in your writing. Two, because you should try not to use abbreviations in your writing. What is wrong with Latin? We all know writers who obscurum per obscurius , and don’t we all want to say to them: naturam expellas furca, ta- men usque recurret ? See how irritating Latin can be? Espe- cially when you suspect that all the writer did was flip to the “±oreign Words and Phrases” section of the dictionary, as I just did. Always try to write in English. Occasionally you’ll hit a snag. Some other language will have a marvelously trenchant way of expressing something and there will be no good way to say it in English. Sturm und Drang zeitgeist femme fatale in vitro Then you can use the word or phrase. How often? Know- ing how often you can use foreign words without sounding pretentious is part of the art of writing. It comes with practice. Good writers tend to spend a lot of time searching for shorter, fresher Anglo-Saxon ways to express themselves. What’s wrong with abbreviations? Abbreviations don’t usually belong in text (“text” meaning the straight prose that makes up most of your work, as op- posed to bibliographies or tables). They are graceless and they are informal. They send a message that you are dashing this off in such haste that you don’t have time to spell things out. There is a place for abbreviations. It is conventional to use certain types of abbreviations in non-text matter: in footnotes, in bibliographies, tables, and other compilations of raw data. You can even use them a little bit within parentheses in the
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latin abbreviations - Latin Abbreviations One of the best...

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