Monday, October 23, 2006

Faculty follies - JAFA: a useful acronym

I know that the language purists among you would not readily accept JAFA as an acronym, as it is not strictly speaking a "word formed from the initial letters of other words" (OED). However, if it grows in popularity, I have hopes that it may eventually become a word (just as LASER became laser - through utility, and frequency of usage).

I came across JAFA recently in a secondary source (Frank Devine: The quick brown fox - using Australian English). Devine cites JAFA as an entry in a glossary of coinages by Antarctic expeditioners - a glossary compiled by Bernadette Hince, a visiting fellow at the Australian National Dictionary Centre in Canberra.

Devine notes that Bernadette herself got used to being called a JAFA by personnel at Australian Antarctic bases.

JAFA = Just Another F***ing Academic.

Since I first heard this coinage, I have used it frequently. Indeed, I don't know how I ever did without it. I look forward to using it frequently during scholarly assemblages such as faculty meetings and conferences. I will use it without explanation, but if an explanation is sought, I will be more than happy to give one.

(Note that "Jafa" rolls off Australian tongues as it is the brand name of a candy-covered chocolate ball, much used by lads of my vintage as missiles in darkened movie theatres.)