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Re: Fwd: <abbr>, <acronym> and initialisms

From: Matthew Raymond <mattraymond@earthlink.net>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 21:37:36 -0400
Message-ID: <460C69E0.7030405@earthlink.net>
To: Doug Jones <doug_b_jones@mac.com>
CC: HTML WG Public List <public-html@w3.org>

Doug Jones wrote:
>> Unfortunately, the definition of initialism causes things to be messy.
>> That an initialism may be an acronym is not part of the primary
>> definition.

   If you see the word "PNG", you might way "ping" while I would say
"P-N-G". From the perspective of a neutral party, the word is both an
initialism and and acronym at the same time.

>> I amend my example of abbreviation to exclude WWW and UK; these are
>> initiailsms. However, if we do not separate out initialisms, I believe
>> they best belong in the abbreviation camp since they do not form words.

   I disagree. Whether or not something is an acronym or an initialism
is largely a matter of personal preference, and in some cases (like
"SQL") its a matter of context. It doesn't make sense to treat these
separately when the difference between the two is a matter of aural
presentation for which there may be a widespread difference of opinion.
Markup should not be a tool for waging pronunciation wars.

>> Also, an abbreviation is customarily expanded upon reading. Perhaps an
>> initialism is read by character.

   It wouldn't be harmful to read out acronyms by letter. In fact, with
all the annoying quasi-acronyms flying around (XUL, XAML, PNG, MNG, et
cetera), I'd prefer it.
Received on Friday, 30 March 2007 01:36:21 GMT

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