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Re: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym

From: Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 20:35:03 +0100
Message-ID: <e2a28a92050915123575136f80@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com" <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Cc: WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

On 15/09/05, Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com
<Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com> wrote:

<proposed definitions>
abbreviation -The shortened form of a word.  For example, "est." may be
the abbreviation for the English words "established" or "estimate."  "Cie"
 is the abbreviation for the French word "compagnie" (company).

acronym - A word made from the initial letters of a name that contains
several words.  For example, NOAA is a word made from the initial letters
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United
States. SNCF is a French acronym that contains the initial letters of the
Societe National des Chemins de Fer, the French national railroad.   All
acronyms are abbreviations.

Note: Some English language  sources require that acronyms form a word
that is spoken as syllables while others accept any grouping of the
initial letters of words as an acronym.  WCAG 2.0 uses the latter, less
restrictive definition.
</proposed definitions>

A word formed by the initial letters of a name that contains several
words is called an initialism. An acronym is an initialism that can be
pronounced. All initialisms, regardless of whether or not they're
acronyms, are a subset of abbreviation. In terms of HTML markup, the
abbr element catches all.

All English sources require that an acronym is pronounceable. As far
as I'm aware, the only official definition that is ambiguous is
Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, and even then it doesn't
explicitly state that all initialisms are acronyms; but it is
constantly put forward as an official definition by anyone wanting to
markup something for Internet Explorer as IE doesn't support the abbr

It's outside of WCAG's scope to redefine grammar, and I strongly
object to this proposal.

Best regards,


Supplement your vitamins
Received on Thursday, 15 September 2005 19:35:13 UTC

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