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Re: Acronyms and Abbreviations

From: Neil Gulati <ngulati@scu.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 13:46:22 +1000 (EST)
Message-Id: <199910220346.NAA31108@cyclops.scu.edu.au>
To: marina@reliance.it, www-html@w3.org
Marina,

My knowledge of exactly what systems are being catered for and in what
way is so pitiful that it is a wonder I am posting on this subject at all.
The only reason I continue to do so is because it appears others are
even less well informed.

No doubt I stand to be corrected on many points, so please don't take
offence at my remarks, please forgive me if I voice a couple of opinions.

>Subject: Re: Acronyms and Abbreviations
Still? Phew!

>Since both the American
>and the English dictionary define "acronym" as being a "word", things like
>HTTP and CSS are *not* covered either by the "abbreviation" or by the
>"acronym" definition - and in this case the following would be true:
?
I'm sorry I don't understand this.
I thought we were talking about "acronym" and "abbreviation" tags,
not about the actual language itself.

> >>Likewise, if pronunciation is the difference
> >>between <abbr> and <acronym>, we need a third tag.
It seems like these two tags are badly defined.
There is certainly a lot of confusion about them!

>ANY logogram and word, in Italian, is read by spelling out the sound of the
>individual letters composing it. Any abbreviation could be "translated"
>into the whole word it represents based on a small look-up table
>(=dictionary). The clean, safe and proper solution to the problem would be
>to write the proper look-up tables (dictionaries) for each language. (It
>seems to me this is virtually impossible for the English language, since,
>at the very minimum, this particular look-up table ought to be updated
>every time a new "acronym" is invented.)
ANY dictionary lookup table is going to have to be updated every time
ANY new word is invented.
To my knowledge languages that are entirely phonetic in their spelling
are rare (sanskrit is one).
I defy you to find a language that can find any random collection of 
letters pronouncable.
Are we trying to describe every grammatical nuance of a piece of
writing in every language or are we just trying to tell a machine
how to pronounce a particular word?

>On the whole, it appears like everybody is right on this matter - which
>makes me think that we are all making different base assumptions about how
>the whole thing would work. For example: is a dictionary, or a set of
>dictionaries, going to be used, or is it an algorythm that determines the
>sound from a set of letters using some rules, or is it a combination of
>methods? Obviously, if it's all done in the dictionary, one tag is more
>than enough - but wouldn't a dictionary that includes all the languages the
>user may want in order to browse the Net be just too big?
Does ANYONE know what systems are being catered for by these tags?
Does anyone have a specification of what is trying to be achieved?
I know it's good to provide standards in advance but you've got to have a spec.

>On the other hand, if a compromise is what some people are thinking of
>using, three tags are probably less prone to mistakes than just two.
Really?
Aren't we just going to find that because there are so many (confusing)
tags the user agents are just going to get written in different ways,
as has happened in the past?
If the standard isn't clear about what and why who else is gonna be?

> >why have both acronym and abbreviation tags?
> >Why have either?
I'm scared. No-one has an answer.

Sorry for being such an idiot.
I also only get the digest so I might cross post this, too.
If 3 people mail me telling me I am an idiot I won't post any opinions again.

Neil.
Received on Thursday, 21 October 1999 23:45:23 GMT

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