Emergence of acronyms in a community of language users

  • Marco Alberto JavaroneEmail author
  • Giuliano Armano
Regular Article


Language is a complex system that evolves over time, due to several phenomena. In recent years, new communication media are affecting interpersonal written communication. In particular, mobile phones and internet-based communication media are leading people to use a small number of characters when writing messages. Hence, acronyms or abbreviations are used in most cases. In particular, a mobile phone message is usually composed by short phrases, the social network Twitter only allows 140 characters per message and in many online forums users have limited space for questions and answers. Although the use of acronyms dates back to ancient times, nowadays this type of linguistic sign is gaining prestige. In this work, we study the introduction of acronyms in social systems. In particular, we define a simple game for the purpose of analyzing how the use of an acronym spreads in a population, considering its ability to create a shared meaning. We performed many numerical simulations according to the proposed model, showing the creation of acronyms to be the result of collective dynamics in a population.


Statistical and Nonlinear Physics 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIEE – Department of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringCagliariItaly
  2. 2.DUMAS – Department of Humanities and Social SciencesSassariItaly

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