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I can define new abbreviations no problem: e.g.

:ab Lunix Linux

defines an "Lunix" as an abbreviation for "Linux", as confirmed by the list which appears when I execute :ab.

In a plain text file, such as an empty buffer, this expands correctly, but with some filetypes neither SPACE nor CTRL-] seem to work.

Is there a setting or mapping which might be getting messed up by some of my filetype plugins?

There's probably a really obvious answer to this, but I haven't found it hunting through the :help documentation yet.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Could you have installed LaTeX-Suite/the IMAP plugin? It may interfere with mappings and abbreviations.

You may also want to check whether any of the four timeout related settings have been changed.

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Yes, turns out IMAP was getting in the way even in non-LaTeX files. I'll have to duplicate any abbreviations I want to use with IMAP() calls as well. – Jez Aug 12 '11 at 9:26
Not necessary duplicate. If IMAP is always active, you can just write your abbreviations to use IMAP. If not, the easier way would be to write a command that tests exist('*IMAP') to uses either iabbr or IMAP(). – Luc Hermitte Aug 12 '11 at 11:47

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