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  1. #1
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    Default an alphabet soup?

    In Congress, Democrats are drafting bills that would create a powerful new regulator or simply confer new powers on the Federal Reserve to oversee practices across the entire array of commercial banks, Wall Street firms, hedge funds and nonbank financial companies.
    The Treasury Department is rushing to complete its own blueprint for overhauling what is now an alphabet soup of federal and state regulators that often compete against each other and protect their particular slices of the industry as if they were constituents
    Dear Teacher,

    What is " an alphabet soup" ? Is it slang? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    "An alphabet soup" is a confusing assortment or mixture, especially of initials or names of organizations/government agencies. You can say it's slang, but some people might disagree as this expression is not very new.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    Aligor,

    Thanks for your reply. Does it mean a mixture of different people, or companies or organizations?

    Is the below sentence I made right?

    Many people from all over the world study English here. The BBS is an alphabet soup.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow402 View Post
    Aligor,

    Thanks for your reply. Does it mean a mixture of different people, or companies or organizations?

    Is the below sentence I made right?

    Many people from all over the world study English here. The BBS is an alphabet soup.
    Not really - though some people might agree that the BBC is turning into an alphabet soup.

    The phrase is used to indicate something has become a total and incomprehensible mess.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    Hi Anglika,

    Thanks for your reply. I am crystal clear now. Well, the BBS is great. It is not an alphabet soup. Please forgive my gaffe.

    I didn't pay enough attention to Aligor's word-"confusing" in his /her interpretation previously.

    Thank you two.


  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    The BBS is more a cultural stew than an alphabet soup.

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    Talking Re: an alphabet soup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The BBS is more a cultural stew than an alphabet soup.
    Sir, spot on. Yummy! Yet learning English is not duck soup for me.

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    If you think that all of the US federal agencies have abbreviations/acronyms, any time they are all listed together, it will look like alphabet soup.

    Let's say the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) have an environmental issue that will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the local state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the project will be managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, you have a situation in which the stakeholders include the BLM, NPS, EPA, DEP, and USACE. Do you see how that's alphabet soup?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    Barb_D, Good cook! Your vivid illustration turns " an alphabet soup" into " duck soup". Thank you!

  10. #10
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: an alphabet soup?

    A bit of cultural background - this is true in the UK, and probably* in the USA: a famous and popular canned soup producer (Heinz) makes a sort of soup - popular with children learning to spell (or at least with their parents!) - which contains little bits of pasta in the shape of the letters of the alphabet: http://www.worth1000.com/entries/20500/20692_w.jpg

    So what you get in your bowl is a real random mixture of letters. (I believe a precursor product, or maybe a copy, used the term 'alphabetti').

    b
    *It's the sort of graphic and everyday image that makes me suspect a US origin.
    Last edited by BobK; 23-Mar-2008 at 16:42. Reason: Fix typo

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