Abbreviations – an integral part of many languages. Russian language learners will inevitably face abbreviations in official documents, newspaper articles, novels, textbooks, advertisements, songs and in spoken language, on signboards and posters.
It is necessary to teach students not only to read and understand, but also to pronounce and use abbreviations correctly and appropriately.
Let's distinguish two main types of abbreviations: initial (alphabetic, sound and alphabetic-sound) abbreviations and shortenings.
The initial abbreviations are the words formed by shortenings of several words and word-combinations. You should read such words by pronouncing every letter of which the abbreviation compounds, as it sounds in the alphabet or by pronouncing the initial sounds of words: эCэCэCэР [ehSehSehSehR], эМГэУ [ehMGehU], КаГэБэ [KaGehBeh], ЦээСКА [TSehehSKA], ЕГЭ [EGEH], РАН [RAN], МГИМО [MGIMO], ФИФА [FIFA]…
But the pronunciation of a letter in abbreviation does not always match its pronunciation in the alphabet. Thus, the letter Ф [F] can be pronounced as эФ [ehF] in abbreviation: эФэСБэ [ehFehSBeh], but as Фэ [Feh] in ФэБээР [FehBehehR]. The same in: эСэНГэ [ehSehNGeh], but СэШэА [SehSHehA]; БэТээР [BehTehehR], but ГэРэУ [GehRehU].
There are no textbooks that can provide us with the rules, which explain whether to use alphabetic pronunciation of letters, initial sounds of words or combinations of letters' names and sounds in an abbreviation. It seems that the main rule of the formation of abbreviation is a principle of "comfortable pronunciation", euphony of a letter combination taking into account the history of development, changes and articulatory features of the Russian language. However, there is a rule according to which, the abbreviation that is pronounced with letters' names is written only in capital letters ДТП, ЛДПР; the abbreviation that is pronounced with sounds (in the case of its formation on the basis of a proper name) is written in capital letters: ООН, ЕЭС; when an abbreviation is formed from a common noun, it's written only in lower-case letters: загс [zaks], дзот [dzot], вуз [vuz]. That is why Russian language learners are offered to learn and memorize those common abbreviations which they can very likely meet during their study and practice.
You can also meet quite often the abbreviations, that have become a content word and is pronounced in one word and inflected for cases as ordinary nouns (acronyms): МИД (в МИДе, у МИДа, МИДом) [MID], ГУМ [GUM], ЦУП [TSUP]. Acronyms of neuter gender are not inflected: НАТО [NATO], ЮНЕСКО [YUNESKO].
The additional way of the formation of abbreviations is its composition from initial elements of word-combinations or through adding the beginning of one word with another: политбюро [politbyuro], теракт [terakt], роддом [roddom], запчасть [zapchast'], комсомол [kamsamol], колхоз [kalchoz]. Such abbreviated words have for a long time integrated into the language and become its part, they follow all the usage's and noun declination's rules.
We use combined abbreviations (ГосТВ [GosTV], КамАЗ [KamAZ]), tautological (VIP-персона [VIP-persona], DVD-диск [DVD-disk]), formed from beginning of the first word and ending of the second one (мопед [maped]) and short forms of borrowed words (интернет [internet], семитрейлер [semitreyler]) less frequently.