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"Acronym" in [User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Draft Test Suite for HTML 4.01]

From: Nicholas Bodley <nbodley@world.std.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 13:23:42 -0400 (EDT)
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Message-Id: <FECXRWUD073TOVSOIYT2V1WXS866Z62.3d53fa95@desqpro>

In this document, I was sorry to see the term "acronym" used 
(apparently) to refer to any initialism or "letter-code 
group", so to speak.

Strictly, the term "acronym" describes a word-like character 
string, usually derived from the initial letters of a phrase, 
such as "radar" (originally RADAR), from "RAdio Detection And 
Ranging", or the lesser-known "mosfet", from "metal-oxide-
semiconductor field-effect transistor".

Acronyms are easy to pronounce. By this definition, "BCPL" 
and "FTP" are not acronyms; they are not easy to say.

The term "acronym" is very distinctive and relatively new to 
many people, and has come into public awareness. It's 
"catchy". However, the public generally does not know that 
all acronyms should be easy to say. They use the term to 
describe any short string of letters, often capitalized, that 
are used like acronyms.

The term "initialism" is the suggested substitute, 
recommended by Richard Lederer, a delightfully witty linguist 
with a quick and keen mind. True, it does not have the charm 
of "acronym", and, eventually, the definition of "acronym" 
might become more relaxed.

In your remarkable document*, you appear to use "acronym" in 
the possible future, less-rigorous sense. Considering its 
relative formality, I do hope that you might consider this  
minor point.


With my best regards,

  Nicholas Bodley |*| Waltham, Mass.
  Opera browser fan -- Registered, too
  Sent by Opera e-mail
Received on Friday, 9 August 2002 13:32:43 UTC

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