W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2000

Re: ABBR vs. ACRONYM

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 23:26:27 +0100
Message-Id: <4.1.20000220231424.00e03540@pop3.demon.nl>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 12:27 2000-02-20 -0800, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>
>I say confusing because obviously there's some disagreement -- even
>if in my own head -- about when they should be used, and specialized
>because they don't present a generic way to provide alternatives
>for textual content, but rather only in certain cases.

I thought I'd reached the point where I had a clear distinction in my mnind between acronym ( word made up from starting letters or otehr  words ) and abbreviation ( shortened word ).

Then I started putting together a new page and thought, well, I'll put this into practice right away  -- and found myself stumbling over teh very first term I wanted to apply it to: "W3C".
Obviously, it's not an abbreviation, since it's not a short form of a word. But is it an acronym? Where does that '3' come from - that's not a letter, is it?

Now I happen to be interested in language (I collect dictionaries!) and I'm well educated in grammar. So I know that the distinction is one made by linguists. (Acronym is not a greek word, btw - it's a word constructed by linguists from greek roots ;-) But would the insurance agent putting up a site know the difference? The local pizza delivery shop? The designer of the site for the local football club? Do they care enough about language to figure out the difference? I'm not saying they would be dumb or not well educated. All I'm saying is: should they care about linguistics when putting up a web site - or just about making that site accessible?

I tend to think it's better to have one term that doesn't lead to confusion - even if it's not linguistically correct. Does it need to be if it serves teh purpose?


Marjolein Katsma
HomeSite Help - http://hshelp.com/
Bookstore for Webmasters - http://hshelp.com/bookstore/bookstore.html
Received on Sunday, 20 February 2000 17:26:50 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:13:48 GMT