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RE: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym

From: Roberto Scano (IWA/HWG) <rscano@iwa-italy.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 21:11:45 +0200
To: <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>, <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org>
Message-Id: <200509161508875.SM01236@Inbox>

Hi John. All depends if we want detailed explanation of the terms.

I suggest to use this:
"A mechanism for finding the expanded form of abbreviations is available."

Note: initialism [definition] and acronym [definition] are special kind of abbreviation.


----- Messaggio originale -----
    Da: "John M Slatin"<john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
    Inviato: 16/09/05 19.48.16
    A: "gez.lemon@gmail.com"<gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com"<Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
    Cc: "WCAG"<w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org"<w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org>
    Oggetto: RE: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym
      
    Gez wrote:
    
    <blockquote>
    I think the definitions should accurately reflect the generally accepted
    meaning of the words, with the guide document illustrating (or linking
    to) advisory techniques, such as writing out in full any abbreviations
    in the main content the first time they're used, and marking up
    subsequent abbreviations using the appropriate element. Other techniques
    might suggest providing a glossary of abbreviations, or glossary of
    terms that include abbreviations used in the content. I definitely think
    the problem should be moved to techniques, rather than redefining words.
    </blockquote>
    Gez, there's been no *intent* to redefine words or define them
    incorrectly! Frankly, I had never heard the term "initialism" before,
    but now you and Christophe have both brought it to our attention.
    
    I've now looked up both "acronym" and "initialism" in three dictionaries
    (Merriam-Webster, Compact Oxford English Dictionary, and American
    Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).  They're not completely
    consistent (I've pasted in the definitions below), and it seems to me
    that the definitions Becky proposed do actually fall within generally
    accepted usage, at least in the US.  However, I would have no difficulty
    including the term "initialism" in the tdefinition and/or the success
    criterion if doing so would clarify the scope of the success criterion.
    
    I think The 30 June 2005 draft of the Guide to WCAG 2.0 Guideline 3.1
    Level 3 Success Criterion 3 lists the techniques you're suggesting
    above.  The draft Guide document is available at
    
    http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-WCAG20-GENERAL-20050630/meaning-located.htm
    l
    
    
    A little bit of history for others who may be wondering why we're
    spending so much time on this issue.
    
    - WCAG 1.0 includes a checkpoint (4.2, Priority 3) which requires that
    acronyms are expanded.
    - The current Working Draft of WCAG 2.0 (30 June 2005) includes a
    success criterion (Guideline 3.1 Level 3 Success Criterion 3) requiring
    that "A mechanism for finding the expanded form of acronyms and
    abbreviations is available."
    
    In short, the word "acronym" appears in normative content so it's
    probably a good idea to define it.
    
    For what it's worth, Merriam-Webster appears to treat one sense of
    "acronym" as synonymous with both "abbreviation" and "initialism".  Here
    is their definition of "acronym":
    
    <blockquote
    cite="http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=acronym&x
    =0&y=0">
    : a word (as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter or
    letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound
    term; also :
    an abbreviation (as FBI) formed from initial letters :
    INITIALISM
    </blockquote>
    
    
    Merriam-Webster also defines "initialism" as a kind of acronym:
    
        

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Received on Friday, 16 September 2005 19:11:53 GMT

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