Author Topic: jargon  (Read 324 times)  

Offline DrewMcGunn

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jargon
« on: July 17, 2017, 12:14:22 PM »
I'm working on  my first novel, and I've run into a problem deciding how to describe a military vehicle.
I'm worried about too technical vs. "dude don't know crap about it"
The word is an acronym:  HMMWV, which is commonly referred to in spoken English as a Humvee.

Readers that favor a more technical feel to the story I think would prefer HMMWV, while those with lower technical expectations would likely prefer to see it as Humvee.

Curious to see what others might think?
And yes, for the briefest of moments, I considered High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle  ;D

Offline Greg Banks

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Re: jargon
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 12:31:12 PM »
Is your audience more likely to be military personnel, or the average "civilian" reader? No reason that you can't introduce the technical term, mention that it's commonly called a "humvee", and then use that from that point forward.
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Offline dianapersaud

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Re: jargon
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 01:21:39 PM »
I'm working on  my first novel, and I've run into a problem deciding how to describe a military vehicle.
I'm worried about too technical vs. "dude don't know crap about it"
The word is an acronym:  HMMWV, which is commonly referred to in spoken English as a Humvee.

Readers that favor a more technical feel to the story I think would prefer HMMWV, while those with lower technical expectations would likely prefer to see it as Humvee.

Curious to see what others might think?
And yes, for the briefest of moments, I considered High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle  ;D

Are you sure more technical readers would prefer HMMWV? Do people in the military go around saying 'HMMWV' rather than 'Humvee'?

You need to think about clarity and keep the text flowing. I would stumble on HMMWV and if later I was told it's a Humvee, I would wonder why you didn't say so in the first place.

Also, how important is the Humvee to your story? You don't need to go in great detail or in depth unless the Humvee itself is a significant component to the plot. Don't bog down the story with unnecessary detail that will bore your readers.

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Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: jargon
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 01:36:10 PM »
I served before humvees were introduced to the military. We had jeeps. But, they weren't made by the Jeep company. The common M151 was first built by Ford and later by AM General. The word jeep is short for general purpose, or GP. I was also licensed to drive the M561, commonly called a Gamma Goat. In the movie Stripes, it's the Russian vehicle stolen by Bill Murray. I was also licensed on the M35 two-and-a-half-ton truck, commonly called a "deuce and a half" and the M54 five-ton truck, simply called a five ton. I was in motor T.

In normal speech, I would have told someone to bring a jeep or a goat to the motor pool for service. I'd suggest using humvee or hummer, lower case. Because a jeep isn't a Jeep and a humvee isn't a Humvee. While they may look similar, they are totally different vehicles.
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Online Jena H

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Re: jargon
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 01:51:30 PM »
Is your audience more likely to be military personnel, or the average "civilian" reader? No reason that you can't introduce the technical term, mention that it's commonly called a "humvee", and then use that from that point forward.

^^ This.
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Offline DrewMcGunn

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Re: jargon
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 02:01:08 PM »
Thanks.  That's helpful.  The HMMWV isn't actually discussed by the characters, and its use in the chapter is descriptive rather than conversational. The main character is riding in the vehicle, and the vehicle is central to the chapter, as there's a fair degree of description when the vehicle detonates an improvised explosive device.

The genre is speculative fiction.  So, a cross-section of readers is likely.

Offline Acheknia

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Re: jargon
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 02:03:49 PM »
I'd just go with Humvee :)

Online Jena H

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Re: jargon
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 02:19:04 PM »
Are you sure more technical readers would prefer HMMWV? Do people in the military go around saying 'HMMWV' rather than 'Humvee'?

You need to think about clarity and keep the text flowing. I would stumble on HMMWV and if later I was told it's a Humvee, I would wonder why you didn't say so in the first place.

Also, how important is the Humvee to your story? You don't need to go in great detail or in depth unless the Humvee itself is a significant component to the plot. Don't bog down the story with unnecessary detail that will bore your readers.

Agreed.


Thanks.  That's helpful.  The HMMWV isn't actually discussed by the characters, and its use in the chapter is descriptive rather than conversational. The main character is riding in the vehicle, and the vehicle is central to the chapter, as there's a fair degree of description when the vehicle detonates an improvised explosive device.

The genre is speculative fiction.  So, a cross-section of readers is likely.

Even if its not in dialogue, as the MC rides in the HMMWV there can be a brief notation, as in  Jenkins mentally shook his head at the military's persistent use of acronyms.  Everyone--military and civilian--called this vehicle a Humvee; why did the eggheads insist on referring to it by the unpronounceable letters?

Or if you prefer to have your character be one of the sticklers, then he/she can think something along the lines of s/he preferred the correct terminology for this vehicle, even though most others called it a Humvee.  Then you, the author, simply refer to it as a Humvee from then on.
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Online zzz

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Re: jargon
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 05:13:53 PM »
Both Humvee and Hummer are registered trademarks of AM General LLC, so they should be capitalized. They also appear to be claiming a trademark on HMMWV, but not a registered one. I don't see how they could enforce a trademark on a government acronym.

In narrative, I'd call it a Humvee. They were introduced long after my time, but as I recall when they first came out they were immediately dubbed "Hummers" by the troops, so in dialog spoken by military people that's what I'd use.

I remember military guys getting a big laugh out of it when AM started selling the civilian versions as Hummers. There was a lot of speculation over whether the company actually knew what the word meant and used it anyway, or if they were completely ignorant of military slang.

Online Jena H

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Re: jargon
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2017, 07:16:00 PM »
Both Humvee and Hummer are registered trademarks of AM General LLC, so they should be capitalized. They also appear to be claiming a trademark on HMMWV, but not a registered one. I don't see how they could enforce a trademark on a government acronym.

In narrative, I'd call it a Humvee. They were introduced long after my time, but as I recall when they first came out they were immediately dubbed "Hummers" by the troops, so in dialog spoken by military people that's what I'd use.

I remember military guys getting a big laugh out of it when AM started selling the civilian versions as Hummers. There was a lot of speculation over whether the company actually knew what the word meant and used it anyway, or if they were completely ignorant of military slang.

It was a number of years ago, but seems to me when Hummers were first available for sale, it was common knowledge among the public that it was a civilian version (a cousin, so to speak) of the military Humvee.  It came out not long after the first Gulf War, and the Humvee had become known to the general population during that time.
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