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Re: Marking Up Acronym and Abbreviations

From: (wrong string) šper <christoph.paeper@tu-clausthal.de>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 01:28:53 +0100
Message-ID: <191501c2c7f6$91e26210$3ef4ae8b@heim4.tuclausthal.de>
To: <www-html@w3.org>

Simon Jessey:
> I am not sure I agree with this. I have no experience of screen readers,
> but I imagine they handle abbreviations (which should be spelled out
> letter by letter)

Why wouldn't they be replaced by the expanded form, which is perhaps found
in the title attribute?

> differently to acronyms (which should be read like a word).

From the aural pov there are three kinds of abbreviations, no matter how you
call them: replaced, spelled out and pronounced as word. Probably a fourth
one were these cases are mixed. There are also abbreviations that are spoken
in more than one way.

Visually, it's not uncommon to have acronyms in a slightly smaller
font-size, not so abbreviations. OTOH space between the parts of abbrs is
often condensed, whereas most initialisms/acronyms not even have
whitespaces, but have extended letter spacing.

Some acronyms are so commonly used that they appear as regular words which
almost no one knows the original meaning of (e.g. 'radar')--those don't need
to be marked up IMO.

> Acronyms are defined as letter sequences made from the first
> letters of words that are then read out as words in their own right, as
> in the case of NATO and NASA. This is also referred to as 'initialism',

Initialisms and acronyms are not the same. Definitions differ from language
to language, country to country and sometimes even from dictionary to

> It seems to me that alternative uses for <abbr> and <acronym>
> that are language-specific should be handled by the 'lang' attribute.

Might be a valid approach.


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Received on Wednesday, 29 January 2003 19:28:55 UTC

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