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Should We Use L.A. or LA? ~ An Open Thread With Our Readers

1:36 PM PDT on May 16, 2018

[dropcap size=big]H[/dropcap]ere at the Taco we strive to serve our readers with the highest standards, and to give people anywhere in the world who might read us the best possible street-level view of what's happening in our city — foodwise and otherwise. Since the publisher asked me to start editing this site, I've sought to define an internal style that is true to common uses of language in contemporary Los Angeles.

Certain Spanish words, for example, if they are common enough, are not italicized. But others, if they a bit more obscure, will be. Highly common last names like Lopez or Hernandez are practically words in American English, as far as I'm concerned, so we do not translate to López or Hernández in everyday copy. The ñ goes where it goes, but if a Quinones doesn't use it, we won't either. And we use "Latinx" when a writer or interview subject requests it, but generally "Latino" for us remains the most common usage still in English and Spanish media, locally and internationally.

But one thing that's been tripping me up is Los Angeles.

The question is whether to shorten the term as an initialism "LA" or abbreviate properly as "L.A." In headlines, I think without a doubt we should use L.A., as currently our design is all caps in heds on the site. This is a bilingual city. When I see "LA" my mind thinks "La," the feminine determinative article in Spanish — La Taquería, la mujer, etc. So I started using L.A. Taco as style for referencing ourselves in headlines, and then it just migrated into the stories.

But lately it's begun looking clunky to me.

Primarily, that's because LA is common use online for "Los Angeles." And, although it seems most readers understand the logic of L.A., and still pronounce it as "El Lay" — not "La" — people are generally uninterested  in spending a few extra keystrokes to make that distinction in their everyday tweeting and communicating. So should LA Taco succumb? Are we to intuit that people are sophisticated enough to avoid erring on the side of la when they see LA?

I want to open this question to our dedicated and loyal readers. So far, I've learned so much from so many of you in the short period that I've served as this site's humble steward.

RELATED: What Is L.A. Taco?

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