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Re: ABBR vs. ACRONYM

From: Ricardo Sanchez <rsv@retemail.es>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 00 16:18:34 -0500
Message-Id: <200002201515.QAA09455@m1smtpsp01.wanadoo.es>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>
cc: "WAI Interest Group Emailing List" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi Gregory and All,

The problem with languages and ACRONYMS or ABBR is very hard.
For example in Spain very much people pronunce MIT how a word,
but I don´t know how french people pronunce MIT. When I have this
problem I use ABBR tag and wait that the users can understand it.

Another example is in HTML 4.0 Specification:


Here are some sample uses of ABBR:

  <P>
  <ABBR title="World Wide Web">WWW</ABBR>
  <ABBR lang="fr"
        title="Soci&eacute;t&eacute; Nationale des Chemins de Fer">
     SNCF
  </ABBR>
  <ABBR lang="es" title="Do&ntilde;a">Do&ntilde;a</ABBR>
  <ABBR title="Abbreviation">abbr.</ABBR>


Do&ntilde;a in Spanish isn't a abbr. Do&ntilde;a is a 
courtesy title.

Regards

Ricardo Sánchez


Gregory J. Rosmaita unagi69@concentric.net 20/2/2000 02:32

>aloha, my dear fellow goofball, kynn!
>
>actually, i too double-checked the HTML spec before posting to the list 
>earlier this evening, and found its examples extremely unenlightening, 
>which is why i didn't reference it in my earlier post...
>
>for example, it lists both GmbH and F.B.I. as acronyms, but i've never 
>heard anyone speak either as a word...
>
>the rule of thumb which i was taught by the nuns at notre dame elementary 
>school is that an abbreviation is a shortening of a single word, whilst an 
>acronym is a new word composed of parts of more than one (usually several) 
>words (or, in linguist-speak, a compound term), and need not be 
>pronounceable in order to merit designation as an acronym...
>
>World Wide Web is a compound term, therefore, it is logical to call WWW 
>(that's 3 double-ewes without spaces) an ACRONYM, and i would therefore 
>submit that, in using WWW as an example of an abbreviation, the HTML 4x 
>spec is in error...
>
>and, i think that the following paragraph, taken from the HTML4 spec, 
>supports that contention:
>
>quote
>The ABBR and ACRONYM elements allow authors to clearly indicate occurrences 
>of abbreviations and acronyms. Western languages make extensive use of 
>acronyms such as "GmbH", "NATO", and "F.B.I.", as well as abbreviations 
>like "M.", "Inc.", "et al.", "etc.". Both Chinese and Japanese use 
>analogous abbreviation mechanisms, wherein a long name is referred to 
>subsequently with a subset of the Han characters from the original 
>occurrence. Marking up these constructs provides useful information to user 
>agents and tools such as spell checkers, speech synthesizers, translation 
>systems and search-engine indexers.
>unquote
>
>it is this paragraph (coupled with linguistic usage) which justifies the 
>usage contained in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
>
>and, as the GmbH and F.B.I. examples cited above indicate, there is no 
>expectation (linguistically or in the HTML4x spec) that an ACRONYM _must_ 
>be pronounceable as a word,
>
>as a matter of fact, i'd like to hear anyone (other than my screen-reader) 
>attempt to pronounce what is listed in the guinness book of world records 
>as the longest valid acronym:
>
>NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT
>
>which is quote short unquote for the transliteration of the initial letters 
>of the name of the quote Laboratory for Shuttering, Reinforcement, Concrete 
>and Ferroconcrete Operations for Composite-monolithic and Monolithic 
>Constructions of the Department of Technology of Building Assembly 
>Operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organization for 
>Building Mechanization and Technical Aid of the Academy of Building and 
>Architecture of the USSR unquote
>
>yours acronymoniously,
>         GJR
>
>At 07:47 PM 2/19/00 -0800, Kynn wrote:
>>A diversion, wherein Gregory and Kynn, two web goofballs, argue
>>pointlessly about trivia related to markup.
>>
>>At 07:20 PM 2/19/2000 , Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
>> >with all due respect, terms such as HTML, WAI, W3C, MIT, HWG, and other 
>> similar conflations cited in your reply to ann on the WAI-IG list are 
>> acronyms, not abbreviations, and should be marked up accordingly...
>>
>>This is a point of contention. :)  I don't know if there is an
>>official ruling on what constitutes an ACRONYM and what constitutes
>>an ABBR, is there?
>>
>>In my opinion, something that is pronounced as a word is an ACRONYM,
>>something that is spelled out as letters is not an ACRONYM.  Any
>>shortened form of a word that is not an ACRONYM is an ABBR.
>>
>>E.g., "MIT" is pronounced "em eye tee", so it is an ABBR; "WAI" is
>>sometimes pronounced "way" and sometimes pronounced "dubya ay eye",
>>so it can be either; "AWARE" is pronounced "uh ware" and never
>>"ay dubya ay are ee", so it's an ACRONYM.
>>
>>The spec for HTML 4.01 lists elements and includes the following
>>description for ABBR, which supports my interpretation and not
>>yours:
>>
>>http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/index/elements.html
>>
>>ABBR    abbreviated form (e.g., WWW, HTTP, etc.)
>>
>>In the description of the two elements, the following is stated:
>>
>>http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/text.html#edef-ABBR
>>
>>ABBR:
>>Indicates an abbreviated form (e.g., WWW, HTTP, URI, Mass., etc.).
>>ACRONYM:
>>Indicates an acronym (e.g., WAC, radar, etc.).
>>
>>WCAG 1.0, however, offers an example that supports YOUR interpretation
>>and not MINE:
>>
>>http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT-TECHS/#text-abbr
>>
>>Example.
>>     <P>Welcome to the <ACRONYM title="World Wide Web">WWW</ACRONYM>!
>>
>>I submit that the WCAG Techniques document is out of spec with the
>>HTML 4.01 document, and HTML 4.01 should be considered definitive --
>>and the Techniques example changed from ACRONYM to ABBR!  Clearly,
>>according to the definitive reference for HTML, "WWW" is an ABBR
>>not an ACRONYM.
>>
>>In real world usage, an ACRONYM would be considered a specific
>>type of ABBReviation.  I -believe- that the reason we have both
>>is that they are both ways of conveying the semantic meaning "this
>>is an abbreviated form of something," but ACRONYM has the additional
>>-presentational- meaning of "...and pronounce this text as a word,
>>not as a string of letters."
>>
>>That's how I think they should be used -- and thus I think you're
>>wrong in saying HWG, W3C, or HTML should be marked up with ACRONYM.
>>
>>
>>--
>>Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
>>President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
>>AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
>
>--------------------------------------------------------
>He that lives on Hope, dies farting
>      -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
>--------------------------------------------------------
>Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
>    WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
>         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
>--------------------------------------------------------
>
Received on Sunday, 20 February 2000 10:15:58 GMT

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