Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Class and acronyms

I gave a presentation in class the other day. I used PowerPoint and everything. It had been a very, very long time since I'd opened up PowerPoint on any computer - seven years at least. I felt like a real grown-up as I prepared the slides, sitting there at my computer typing up bulleted lists and main points and tinkering with the nifty animations.

I was more nervous about giving the presentation than I should have been. I am not as out of practice at public speaking as you'd think, since I teach or give presentations at church all the time. Still, I wasn't sure I'd be able to throw off the motherhood mantle completely enough to avoid slipping into the tone of voice I use with my kids. Do you ever have those moments where you happen to not be with your children (imagine!), but something in your surroundings triggers a certain automatic reaction and you can't stop yourself from being a mom? Like maybe you're watching a movie, and a horse gallops into the picture and you say, out loud, in a very sweet, teaching-moment voice, "oooh, look at the horsie!!!!"

Yeah. I just didn't want anything like that to happen during my presentation.

And it turned out OK. The only thing that went wrong was that I came thiiiis close to being late. (I underestimated the time it would take to walk to class in high heels, which I was wearing to help me feel more professional and less like the person Magdalena had peed her pants on earlier that day while sitting on my lap.)

Also in class, as part of our study of morphology, we were talking about acronyms and how sometimes we pronounce the individual letters (NAACP) and sometimes we pronounce them as words (NASA, NAFTA, MADD). It got me thinking about my days at the BYU. While some buildings were called a proper name (the Wilk, the Testing Center, the library), a lot of the buildings on campus were known by their acronyms, and usually it worked out pretty well. You had the ASB, the JSB, the HRCB, the JKHB, etc., which were pronounced as their individual letters. But then there were gems that we pronounced as words even when the result was contrived and ridiculous:

Spencer W. Kimball Tower - SWKT - "swikkit"
Foreign Language Student Residence - FLSR - "flisser"
Harris Fine Arts Center - HFAC - "aychfack"
Martin Building - MARB - "marb"
Jesse Knight Humanities Building - JKHB - "juhkuh-hub" (OK, that was just Jeremy and me)
National Middle Eastern Language Resource Center - NMELRC - "enemy-lurk"
Museum of Art - MOA - "mowa" (at least I said it this way in my mind - anyone else?)

and the perennial acronym-name-pronunciation FAIL:

Smith Family Living Center - SFLC - "syphillis"

Let it be known that when they tore down the SFLC and built a new building, they named it the Joseph F. Smith Building, JFSB, an acronym that cannot be construed as an STD.

That's it for our linguistics digest this week. Did I miss any good BYU acronyms?


B-Rad said...

Not really acronyms, but a couple of BYU sayings that I've heard recently..."just Fredette about it" and "they got Jimmered!"

Spencer said...

The ASB used to be called the Smoot Office Building. (Or so the story goes.) You do the math.

Bridget said...

Ooh, as long as we're extending the scope of BYU acronyms, then I should include NCMO - "nickmo."

Spencer, that is too funny.

Liz Johnson said...

I used to call the foreign language student housing "FLUSH," but I think that was only me. :)

And I will call the new JFSB the Syphillis until I die.

Amanda said...

Just this weekend, we drove past some cows and a train at the same time, and I exclaimed at Tyler, "LOOK, a TRAIN Choo Choo!" Then there was that moment where I thought, "yeeeeaaaaah, that did just happen."

Nancy said...

What the H-B-double L, Bridget!? You forgo the library!

HBLL or just "Harold," for short if you happened to be a female and had a hot date of studying alone all night long.

Nancy said...

And by forgo I totally meant forgot. Just sayin.' :)

Bridget said...

I don't recall H-B-double-L but now that you mention it, I do remember "Harold." :)

AmandaStretch said...

I think my pronunciation of MOA is more of moh-ah, less w sound.

Lindsay said...

As I was reading through your BYU acronyms, I kept thinking - did she forget about the SFLC ... then there it was. Classic. :)

Steven said...

I call the JFSB the juh-fiz-buh. I wish we still had the syphilis building.... that's hilarious.

Anna said...

Some 100 year old professor once told me that battling tragic acronyms was an old BYU staff battle. He said the Marriott center used to be called the Marriott Art Center but was changed after students called it the Big MAC. I wish I remembered others. For my last year at BYU I called the JFSB the JFSOB. Heheh. Uh, that never really caught on though, not even with Chris.

Kristi said...

IT is no longer referred to as the JKHB, but just JKB. I don't think Humanities is even in the title anymore. I also call the JFSB the JuhFizBuh. I have heard many other people on campus call it that too.

elliespen said...

Law schoolers sometimes refer to the JRCB in full acronym form (jay-arr-see-bee), but in more whimsical moments it's the J-Rube (J. Reuben Clark Building). Also, back before the law building was actually built the law school classes were held in the former Catholic school down the road and they referred to it as St. Reuben's.

St. Reuben's, incidentally, was also home to BYU's only Coke vending machine for awhile until the administration firmly suggested the law school get rid of it. There's an apocryphal story that Rex Lee (the dean of the law school at the time) tried to reassure the administration that it was strictly medicinal: "I know because every time I stop drinking it my hands start shaking."


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