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Re: Clarification needed in HTML 4.0 Spec?

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 08:30:53 -0500
Message-ID: <3690C28D.C924C152@w3.org>
To: (wrong string) åkon Styri" <styri@online.no>
CC: www-html-editor@w3.org
Styri wrote:
> I refer to http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/text.html#h-9.2.1
> A user in a norwegian html newsgroup asked a question about how he
> should decide between using ABBR and ACRONYM. It appears to me that
> the examples in the spec are correct (though the spanish example is
> peculiar), but the prose is confusing acronyms and abbreviations.
> The reason may of course be that a number of dictionaries doesn't
> have a good entry for acronym. (I had to look up in Encyclopedia
> Americana to find a good explanation.)
> I guess you should consider to clarify the standard on this topic.

Hi Håkon ,

Your question is a good one. The definitions (in English)
of abbreviations and acronyms are not mutually exclusive, and
the HTML Working Group decided to leave both element names
in rather than choose one or the other. If the specification
is unclear on this point, it's because the Working Group
felt they weren't linguists and didn't want to define precisely
when one element should be used and not the other.

My own personal preference is to use ABBR for abbreviations
(shortened words such as "messrs" for "messieurs")  and ACRONYM
for clear acronyms (such as "WWW"). I would have to consider
other cases specifically.

Thanks for taking the time to seek clarification,

 - Ian

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org) 
Received on Monday, 4 January 1999 08:31:26 UTC

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