I have seen phone spelled as 'phone. Obviously this is an acknowledgement that the full word used to be telephone. Is this spelling objectionable?

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    Language evolves. Radar, laser, and scuba used to be acronyms, now they are words. Phone used to be an abbreviation, now it's a word. – cobaltduck Dec 16 '15 at 15:51
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    @Rathony: Why? Perhaps because the meaning phone = A speech sound; the smallest unit of sound in speech that can be distinguished from any other such unit (OED's first definition, citation 1866) predates the invention (or at least, the naming) of the telephone (which I'd be inclined to fix at 1876, when various inventors were slugging it out to see who could get their implementation patented first). – FumbleFingers Dec 16 '15 at 17:13
  • @FumbleFingers The OP needs to specify the context. Not me. Also, I agree that the word phone might have been used first, but why would you spell it that way? That was my question. – user140086 Dec 16 '15 at 17:17
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    @Rathony: I don't really follow you there. As it happens, OED's first citation for phone = telephone is 1880. That and the next one (1883) don't have an apostrophe,for which orthography OED's first citation isn't until 1886. I don't really suppose "disambiguation" is a significant factor; it's presumably about whether the speaker/writer accepts the shorter form as a word "in its own right" (as opposed to being a slangy colloquial abbreviation). – FumbleFingers Dec 16 '15 at 17:24
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    @Rathony: The apostrophised version was never actually dominant, but in the early decades it was quite common, accounting for about 1 in 3 of all instances of the abbreviated form. The abbreviated form became established very early, but even in those early decades, both the short forms combined amounted to less than a tenth of usages of the full form telephone. – FumbleFingers Dec 16 '15 at 17:40

I am assuming you are referring to the apostrophe that precedes the word phone as being the issue here. In this case, it is quite unnecessary as "phone" itself is a word. I have never seen the apostrophe before, and it would actually cause confusion as opposed to clarity to use this form.

According to the University of Sussex, this form is outdated.

Such clipped forms are not regarded as contractions, and they should not be written with apostrophes. Writing things like hippo', bra', 'cello and 'phone will, not to mince words, make you look like an affected old fuddy duddy who doesn't quite approve of anything that's happened since 1912.

University of Sussex

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    Except that's written by Larry Trask (who should be credited, rather than the university). He had some oddball ideas. – Andrew Leach Dec 16 '15 at 16:53
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    As he was a professor at that university, and the university specifically states that they maintain this grammar guide, I don't see how citing it as the University of Sussex is wrong. If the "New York Times" published something, I would be correct in citing that newspaper as the source, and not just specifically the author. And attacking the author on his other ideas does not make this information any less true. I'm not sure what you were getting at with your post. – trident Dec 16 '15 at 17:08
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    I see 'cello from time to time (as you say, usually from "affected old fuddy duddies"), but I don't think I've ever seen bra'. Now that really would be an extreme affectation from my perspective. – FumbleFingers Dec 16 '15 at 17:26
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    @trident No, it explicitly states The document you are looking at is a textbook, with the copyright explicitly retained by Larry Trask— he is not writing on behalf of the university. He is more like a columnist appearing in the New York Times than a staff reporter. – choster Dec 16 '15 at 18:21
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    @choster has ably explained the attribution. The rest of my comment was intended to imply that anything Larry Trask wrote should be taken with a bushel of salt. – Andrew Leach Dec 16 '15 at 18:25

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