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Thread: Mafac or MAFAC?

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    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Mafac or MAFAC?

    "Mafac" (or, if you prefer, MAFAC) is a name derived from the initial letters of the name of a French manufacturing conglomerate. (I have to admit that I don't know what the non-abbreviated name was, or care enough to look it up). So does one capitalize it or not?
    I don't, using the example of words like "scuba," ("Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus,") "laser" (Light Amplification by Stimulation of Emitted Radiation), or radar (RAdar Detection And Ranging). Those are never capitalized in ordinary usage.
    On the other hand, you have words like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) or FAQ ("frequently asked questions,"), which almost always ARE capitalized. Read the Wikipedia article on "acronyms and initialisms" if you really want to delve into this.
    The bottom line seems to be that either Mafac of MAFAC is defensible. I like lower-case because I'm lazy and it saves me having to hit the shift key, and also because MAFAC looks kind of angry in all caps like that.
    What do you guys think? Should we choose one or the other and stick with it? I mean, don't we need some organization and discipline around here? Maybe someone should set up one of those online surveys.
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    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Scuba and laser are not in all caps because they are not proper nouns. MAFAC (Manufacture Auvergnoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles) is, so please use all caps.
    Last edited by ColonelJLloyd; 01-26-12 at 01:01 PM.
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    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    Scuba and laser are not in all caps because they are not proper nouns. MAFAC (Manufacture Auvergnoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles) is, so please use all caps.
    Good point. On the other hand--and despite my using it as an example of an acronym that is almost always capitalized--NATO is also a proper noun, yet is not necessarily capitalized. Most British newspapers, for example, write it as "Nato." Maybe they're Mafac brakes if mounted on a British bike.
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    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    MAFAC and NATO are correct. It's that simple.
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    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    MAFAC is a true acronym, (i.e. initial letters to form syllables) so it ought to be written in all caps.

    Terms like "scuba" have become common nouns and/ adjectives in a very generic, non-branded sense in the English language, thus they're commonly written in lower case.
    If you ask the common man on the street, I don't think that he would agree that "MAFAC" has attained that status in the lexicon (in which case it would be written "mafac" instead of "Mafac".)
    - Auchen

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    SCAWBA.. (self contained above water braking apparatus)

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    Senior Member jbkirby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    scawba.. (self contained above water braking apparatus)
    +1

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    Randomhead
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    Mafac has entered common parlance over the last 50 years, so both are correct. Neologisms are part of the English language, the French need to get in the game

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    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    Mafac has entered common parlance over the last 50 years, so both are correct. Neologisms are part of the English language, the French need to get in the game
    Common parlance has nothing to do with it. It's a proper name and, thus, is only correct with all capital letters. You can type it any way you want, but that doesn't make it correct.
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    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    MAFAC is correct, Mafac is understandable.. maflac is not acceptable.
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    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    The New York Times style guide has what I think is called "the four-letter rule" for acronyms, under which they upper-case acronyms of four letters or less ("UN" or "NATO"), while those with more than four ("Unicef", the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund) only get an initial cap--the theory being that five capital letters in a row scream too loudly. If the Times ever mentions MAFAC brakes in a story, it will appear as "Mafac."
    There's no right and wrong--it's purely a matter of style. I was just kind of curious as to what "our" style is. Maybe there isn't one. I'm kind of hoping that someone is going to speak up for M.A.F.A.C. How I used to enjoy that old TV show, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
    Anarchy rules in the US, but even the French actually allow some wiggle room--the Academie Francaise decides what words are and are not genuine French, but they're only recommendations--aren't actually binding on anyone.
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    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
    The New York Times style guide has what I think is called "the four-letter rule" for acronyms, under which they upper-case acronyms of four letters or less ("UN" or "NATO"), while those with more than four ("Unicef", the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund) only get an initial cap--the theory being that five capital letters in a row scream too loudly.
    Interesting. So by that guide, we'd have internet forums acronyms "FIFY" and "LMAO" capitalized but then we'd have "Roflmao" with only an intial cap.

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    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    Interesting. So by that guide, we'd have internet forums acronyms "FIFY" and "LMAO" capitalized but then we'd have "Roflmao" with only an intial cap.

    Only the NY Times uses "Roflmao".
    - Auchen

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    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    Under my name on my business card reads "Pedantic *******".
    Hey, moi aussi, man! Look what a dick I'm being about insisting that it's matter of style, not right and wrong! And I'm REALLY dick when I catch someone in a apostrophe error--you should hear me proofread a restaurant menu!
    Of course, by the argument I made a few posts earlier I guess, apostrophes are also a matter of style, not right and wrong. I think from now I may just call them "those French centerpull brakes."
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    I don't know if it makes any difference but there is the word Mafac, or MAFAC, either an acronym for "(Manufacture Auvergnoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles)", and thanks to ColonelJLloyd. However, It is also a trademark, when offered in its stylized format. For me, I tend to go with the way the word is presented on the product.

    This page is from Classic Rendezvous....


    In that company approved advertisement, we see the trademark (the one with the funny first "A") and the way the company spells the word - MAFAC.

    All that said, it is, I suppose, up to the individual to decide for him or her self.
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    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
    .... I think from now I may just call them "those French centerpull brakes."
    Do you mean these?

    - Auchen

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    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    ...an acronym for "(Manufacture Auvergnoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles)"
    In English, I think that's "Manufacturer of Eggplant Friends and Accessories for Cycles," or "MEFAC."
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    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    I'm all right with MAFAC or Mafac, but when it comes to ALAN (the Italian manufacturer of aluminum frames) it HAS to be ALL CAPS.
    That is final.
    Carry on...

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    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    I don't know if it makes any difference but there is the word Mafac, or MAFAC, either an acronym for "(Manufacture Auvergnoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles)", and thanks to ColonelJLloyd. However, It is also a trademark, when offered in its stylized format. For me, I tend to go with the way the word is presented on the product.

    This page is from Classic Rendezvous....


    In that company approved advertisement, we see the trademark (the one with the funny first "A") and the way the company spells the word - MAFAC.

    All that said, it is, I suppose, up to the individual to decide for him or her self.
    Look at the way it's spelled in the bottom line of the second bullet point: "Mafac." Rules of grammar aside, I would submit that the holder of a trademark defines its usage-- and here, they clearly use both. Thus, either is correct.
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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
    Hey, moi aussi, man! Look what a dick I'm being about insisting that it's matter of style, not right and wrong! And I'm REALLY dick when I catch someone in a apostrophe error--you should hear me proofread a restaurant menu!
    Of course, by the argument I made a few posts earlier I guess, apostrophes are also a matter of style, not right and wrong. I think from now I may just call them "those French centerpull brakes."
    AKA, TFCBs.

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    Senior Member Drakonchik's Avatar
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    If ALL CAPS was good for the ROMANS, then why not for the descendents of GAUL?

    S.P.Q.R.

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    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
    I'm all right with MAFAC or Mafac, but when it comes to ALAN (the Italian manufacturer of aluminum frames) it HAS to be ALL CAPS.
    That is final.
    Carry on...
    The New York Times will allow you to do that, thanks to the "four-letter rule."
    What does "ALAN" stand for, anyway?
    "Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long."
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