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Re: Marking Up Acronym and Abbreviations

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 07:01:36 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200301290701.h0T71as00826@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

> I've always marked them all up. I think the W3C definitions of 'acronym' and
> 'abbr' are incorrect anyway. I find that I use acronyms (like NASA) quite

That is on topic (error in/proposed change to specification), although has
been much discussed, but probably more on the WAI list than the html one.
There are two problems:

1) In the UK and USA, the bulk of the population and media misuse the
term acronym for almost any abbreviation, much like the media considers
virus and bacteria as interchangeable.

2) Apparently, in some western European countries, acronym doesn't have
the same meaning as in the UK and USA, but is spelled sufficiently 
similar to be seen as the same word.

Some people have suggested that there are at least three categories:

1) truncated forms of words;
2) letter sequences formed from the initial characters of words (some
   people have coined the term initialism for these);
3) the sub-case of (2) which are normally pronounced as though they were
   words in their own right (my, UK, understanding of acronym).

Because of the level of confusion, and the difficulty of getting anyone
to comply with the even the most fundamental abstraction concepts in 
HTML, I suspect collapsing them into one category is the only thing that
might work, for the <5% of people that will bother to mark them at all.
Received on Wednesday, 29 January 2003 15:54:41 UTC

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