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Re: Brainstorming - abbreviations

From: Colin Lieberman <colin@cactusflower.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 09:55:20 -0700
Message-Id: <de8fc74ae241d430f189ff8ac2ea6a88@cactusflower.org>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
To: Andrew Sidwell <takkaria@gmail.com>

On 15 3, 2007, at 9:13, Andrew Sidwell wrote:
> What is the advantage of getting rid of <acronym> and replacing it with
> an attribute on another element, especially when most people don't know
> the difference between abbreviations and acronyms anyway?
> I don't really have an opinion either way when it comes to keeping vs.
> removing <acronym>, but I think adding extra attributes muddies the
> semantic waters a little.

Interesting - I agree completely that most people don't understand the 
difference between acronym and abbreviation, which is exactly why it's 
silly to have both. However, I think a single element with a simple 
attribute "say me like a word" or "say me like initials" would be 
perfectly clear -- certainly more clear than two elements.

I'm not sure how it confuses semantics: An acronym is a subset of 
abbreviations anyway, so the existing model is muddy. A single element 
for the parent type (abbreviation) that doesn't distinguish is, I feel, 
more semantic. The pronunciation switch is not involved with any 
acronym/abbreviation distinction.

> I object to a "pronounce" attribute, on the grounds that I say "SQL" as
> initials. :)  To make the point more general -- whilst such an 
> attribute
> might be useful for screenreaders to some extent, different people say
> things different ways.  If one website uses "sequel" and one uses "ess
> cue ell", I think that would be confusing.

Fair enough, but if we were chatting face to face, and I asked you what 
your favorite 'sequel' server was, would you really be confused? I 
think most people are quite clever enough to handle those sorts of 
common variations. But, maybe  SQL was a bad example. An 
author-specified pronunciation would be useful for common abbreviations 
like Mr., Sr., etc. (both as an example, and literally :) which 
currently grate on the ears when read by screen readers.

Colin Lieberman
Received on Thursday, 15 March 2007 16:33:31 GMT

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