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Re: Proposal to modify GL 3.1 L3 SC3 - including definitions

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 11:40:04 +0200
Message-Id: <6.0.0.22.2.20050922101829.0295aaa8@mailserv.esat.kuleuven.be>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

At 23:23 21/09/2005, Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com wrote:
<blockquote>
Team B would like to propose a change to the wording of  GL 3.1 L3 SC3, A
mechanism for finding the expanded form of acronyms and abbreviations is
available [1]. (...)

The current proposal is to remove the word acronym from the SC text since
an acronym is a subset of abbreviation and to provide updated definitions
of abbreviation, acronym and initialisms.
<proposal for GL 3.1 L3 SC3>
A mechanism for finding the expanded form of abbreviations is available.
</proposal>
(...)
<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).
Note: Acronyms and initialisms are types of abbreviations.
</blockquote>

An acronym or an initialism is not the shortened form of word, so it does
not fit the proposed definition of abbreviation. That's why I proposed the
two-part definition (more on this below).

Another issue here is that "info" is the shortened form of "information"
and "cell" in "cell phone" is the shortened form of "cellular". Do we want
to require expanded forms for these examples?
The difference between the examples in the definition and the ones I cite
is that "established" and "compagnie" were shortened to take up less space
in writing (or to write faster), whereas the short forms for "information"
and "cellular" originate from speech. Lexicographers do not always take
this distinction into account (judging by the examples they provide).
We could exclude the second category by defining an abbreviation (in the
first sense) as
         The shortened form of a word in writing.
And add a note about the distinction I described, but there are two problems
with this:
1. most people have never thought about this distinction;
2. I don't know how well this translates to other languages (Russian,
Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, to name a few of the 5000+ languages
in the world).

We should also a note that excludes contractions (I'm, o'clock, wanna, ...).


<blockquote>
acronym -  An abbreviation made from the initial letters of a name that
contains several words. Defined differently in different languages.  For
example, NOAA is an abbreviation made from the initial letters of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States.
</blockquote>

Based on the sample of 18 dictionaries and glossaries that I consulted,
it seems safe to say that many acronyms can be pronounced as words.
(The definitions and/or examples for acronyms in English, French,
Spanish and German dictionaries justify this; the situation in Dutch
is not clear).

Also, some acronyms have lost their original meaning and have become just
names (e.g. SIL - see http://www.sil.org/ - and IMS - see
http://www.imsglobal.org/). This category should be excluded.


<blockquote>
initialism - an unpronounceable abbreviation made from the initial letters
of a name that contains several words.  Not defined in all languages. SNCF
is a French initialism that contains the initial letters of the Societe
National des Chemins de Fer, the French national railroad.
</blockquote>

An initialisms is not always the shortened form of a name; it can also be
a phrase (e.g. HRH: His/Her Royal Highness).
Some sources also allow the use of the first letters of syllables: e.g.
ESP (extrasensory perception).

<proposed definition>
initialism - the unpronounceable shortened form of a name or phrase
made from the initial letters of words or syllables contained in that
name or phrase.  Not defined in all languages. SNCF
is a French initialism that contains the initial letters of the Societe
National des Chemins de Fer, the French national railroad. ESP
is an initialism for extrasensory perception.
</proposed definition>


<blockquote>
The definition of abbreviation is not changed from my original proposal
[2] except for the addition of the note.  I did not know how to
incorporate Christophe's two part definition from [3] since it did not
seem appropriate to use the word "abbreviated" in the definition of
"abbreviation".
</blockquote>

Some dictionaries do use a form of the verb "abbreviate" in the definition
of abbreviation, but most use "shortened form". So my proposal for
abbreviation would change to the following:<proposed 
definition>abbreviation 1. The shortened form of a word. 2. Shortened form 
of a word, phrase or name, i.e. a general category that    includes 
abbreviations (1), initialisms and acronyms.</proposed definition>


In the attachment, you can find the resuls of my searches in dictionaries.

Regards,

Christophe Strobbe


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#meaning-located
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2005JulSep/0811.html
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2005JulSep/0847.html
-- 

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical Engineering - Research Group on 
Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
http://www.docarch.be/ 

Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm




Received on Thursday, 22 September 2005 09:42:04 GMT

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