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Naah, Latka's last name was Gravas. The Latvian name would ... There are no mountains in Latvia. A few hills, maybe.

But is it really true that bobsledding was invented there?

I don't know, but that's what is says here:
http://www.nuggetnews.com/archives/20020313/front11.shtml

I doubt it, though. The Swiss seem more likely to have done it.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
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Straw man: "phone" and "cab" are not abbreviations; they are words. Or would you write "taxi."?

By saying "I wonder if anyone ever wrote" I made the statement a historical reference. "Phone" was at one time ... (I know they almost surely did not. It's only to make a point that I posited that they might have.)

It's still a straw man: you're ignoring the distinction between abbreviations and {contractions and clipped forms}. In an abbreviation, letters are omitted to save space from the printed text, or time in writing; they're not actually intended to be omitted from the word in question when pronounced. "Mr." is pronounced "mister"; "corp." is pronounced "corporation". In a contraction or a clipped form, letters are omitted to indicate that they're not pronounced: "phone" was never intended to be pronounced "telephone", even when it was spelled "'phone".

An ending period indicates an abbreviation, not merely "that letters have been omitted somewhere in the preceding word".
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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And in Spanish "Usted" is often abbreviated "Ud."

When I was in high school (and the1st year of college), it was abbreviated Vd. (or vd.). Has that changed? (It's been 40+ years.)

Maria Conlon
And in Spanish "Usted" is often abbreviated "Ud."

When I was in high school (and the1st year of college), it was abbreviated Vd. (or vd.). Has that changed? (It's been 40+ years.)

Ud. certainly seems more common now than Vd.
Vd. is apparently from the original source of the word "Usted", which was "vuestra merced", or essentially, "your worship".
And in Spanish "Usted" is often abbreviated "Ud."

When I was in high school (and the1st year of college), it was abbreviated Vd. (or vd.). Has that changed? (It's been 40+ years.)

The fairly recent (1998) Oxford Spanish Dictionary has both "ud." and "Vd." (and yes, one is capitalized, the other not).
Interesting to note, one contraction follows pronunciation; the other, etymology; since the pronunciation is (u'stEd) ("ooSTED") while the term comes if I remember right from "vuestra merced" (= "your worship" or "your honor").
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Another grad student in the ling. dept. here at Penn writes both "'phone" and "'bus". He's English, but I don't necessarily take that as an explanation.

I was reading Stephen Leacock's "Sunset Sketches of a Little Town" recently and for him it's "'bus". But then the book was published in
1912.

J.
Or Ltd. for limited? (certainly more common here than Mr. for Mister) And in Spanish "Usted" is often abbreviated "Ud."

Older UK usage was "Ld." for limited. By the way.
Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
"Mr" often used to be, and sometimes still is, written ... have evolved into "Mr.", possibly under the influence of typewriters.

Interesting. Were any other contractions, like maybe "Dr.", written that way?

Personal names were - like W (oops, can't show it of course) Wm-with-a-dot-under-the-m for William.

Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
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"A big black book". "A big, black book". What does the comma in the second example actually do ? Nothing;

A big black book is a black book that's big. A big, black book is a book that's both big ... if the "big" and the "black" are thought of as being independent descriptions of the book, then the comma works.

I don't see that as conflicting with my approach, which is: if has a function, use it.
Mike.
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