Walter Ian Kaye (
Mon, 28 Jul 1997 08:10:24 -0700

Message-Id: <v0310283ab00261d53476@[]>
In-Reply-To: <Pine.WNT.3.95.970728070739.-148885B-100000@holly>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 08:10:24 -0700
From: Walter Ian Kaye <>
Subject: Re: "ACRONYM"?

At 8:30a -0400 07/28/97, Dave Raggett wrote:
 > the name. When it comes to pronunciation, one weak rule is that
 > if the acronym is fully capitalised, then you can speak it by
 > saying each of the letters in turn. This works for WWW and BBC
 > but not for NATO. As a result, we really need a way to specify
 > how to pronounce such words.
 > Speech synthesisers use dictionaries to supplement general rules.
 > It is not unreasonable to assume that the dictionary holds common
 > abbreviations and acronyms. For uncommon terms, though, you need
 > to pass the phonemic and prosodic information to drive synthesis.
 > This could be done via an attribute on elements, or via a link to
 > a downloadable dictionary. Further work is needed to arrive at
 > agreed representations for these.
 > In the short term, it would be better to be able to indicate in
 > the markup that an abbreviation/acronym should be pronounced by
 > speaking each of the letters in turn rather than treating it as a
 > word. The most obvious name is SPELLOUT which according to the
 > Oxford English dictionary "make out (words etc.) letter by letter".
 > Perhaps the HTML 4.0 spec should replace ACRONYM by a new
 > attribute on SPAN, e.g.
 >   The <span spellout>BBC</span> tonight reported heavy
 >   shelling on the Boznian capital.

Looks good to me. As for specifying pronunciation, how about:

   The <span speech="ku+po-n">coupon</span> was ten cents off.

Phonetics get a bit tricky, and then there are all those regional
variations (could get fun, actually! <span speech="teiuksus teeeeii">
texas tea</span>).

  Walter Ian Kaye <boo_at_best*com>    Programmer - Excel, AppleScript,
          Mountain View, CA                         ProTERM, FoxPro, HTML     Musician - Guitarist, Songwriter