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Re: How to specify pronunciation of ABBR?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 11:27:23 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200401101127.i0ABRNo06697@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> Note that abbreviations often have idiosyncratic pronunciations. For
> example, while "IRS" and "BBC" are typically pronounced letter by letter,

These are initialisms, a sub-class of abbreviations not specifically
identified by HTML.

> "NATO" and "UNESCO" are pronounced phonetically. Still other abbreviated

These are acronyms (the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) defines them as
words, whereas initialisms are defined as abbreviations).  The problem
here is that there appear to be differences in the interpretation of
the plain language word acronym between different communities (with the
general public only having a vague notion) and the HTML specification
doesn't tightly define the meaning of the element name ACRONYM.
Some people interpret HTML ACRONYM as meaning OED initialism.

> forms (e.g., "URI" and "SQL") are spelled out by some people and pronounced
> as words by other people. When necessary, authors should use style sheets

That makes it a styling issue.  In normal documents, the term should be
pronounced the way the recipient would pronounce it, not the way the
author would pronounce it, so it becomes a non-issue from the point of
view of the author.
Received on Saturday, 10 January 2004 06:53:34 UTC

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