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

From: Matthew Raymond <mattraymond@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 23:05:17 -0400
Message-ID: <460DCFED.4010104@earthlink.net>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
CC: HTML WG Public List <public-html@w3.org>

Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
> last century, when the XHTML activity was first announced, 
> on the w3c site, i spent a long time wondering what:
> 
> X H T M L T M
> 
> was...
> 
> i thought i knew what the X the H the T the M and the L 
> were, but i couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what 
> the terminal T and M stood for, until i listened to the 
> document source, and discovered that the terminal T and M 
> were marked as superscript, which i know to be a print 
> convention for representing a trademark assertion...

   This is a bad example. "TM" should have been either "&trade;" or it
should have been markups up as an abbreviation. One could also make the
argument that the screen reader should have provided some indication
that the "TM" was in superscript.

> nor did i ever realize - because it was always read 
> character by character - why i18n was the abbreviation for 
> internationalization, until i was asked to join the a11y 
> project at the [Linux] foundation, and suddenly realized 
> the unconventional convention behind the abbreviation.

   This is another bad example, because it's an abbreviation and not an
acronym. (I actually despise these kinds of abbreviations, by the way.)
Furthermore, the expansion of this abbreviation is easily readable by a
screen reader.

> on the web, NOTHING is self-evident.  the user should be 
> the one who decides how an expansion is expressed -- 
> visually, aurally, tactilely -- but in order to do so, he 
> or she needs guidance, which can only be provided by 
> authors writing to a specification; in particular, an 
> attribute [I've] proposed for abbreviation markup, 
> "expressed-as", which is different and distinct from 
> "pronounced", which properly falls under the domain of 
> [Aural CSS].

   I'm not sure what you have in mind, but I don't feel that the
acronym/initialism distinction specifically should be expressed via
markup because it's often too subjective and would lead to authors
telling the users how to pronounce some of these types of abbreviations.
Received on Saturday, 31 March 2007 03:04:16 GMT

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