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Re: ABBR vs. ACRONYM

From: Thomas Dowling <tdowling@ohiolink.edu>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 14:16:13 -0500
Message-ID: <00a001bf7bd7$0a5fd160$e3866420@ohiolink.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

----- Original Message -----
From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>

> 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?
>

Is it fair to say that if the members of this list can't find a consensus on
the distinction between these terms, no clear distinction is going to find
its way into real-world use?  If so, won't support for either element
require a way to answer the pronounced-as-letters/pronounced-as-a-word
question?

For what it's worth, there is a standard reference work called the Acronyms,
Abbreviations, and Initialisms Dictionary.  It defines both acronyms and
initialisms as types of abbreviation: acronyms are sets of initial letters
pronounced as a word (NATO), and initialisms are sets of initial letters
pronounced as letters (FBI).  I suppose that's as "official" a definition as
there is, but it has been pointed out to be that these definitions, as well
as the term "initialism" itself, are too jargony to be helpful.  Which again
means that ACRONYM and ABBR should be treated as equivalent.

Thomas Dowling
Ohio Library and Information Network
tdowling@ohiolink.edu
Received on Sunday, 20 February 2000 14:15:05 GMT

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