[whatwg] Acronyms & Abbreviations whatwg Digest, Vol 33, Issue 90

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Thu Dec 13 02:27:04 PST 2007

Krzysztof ??elechowski writes:

> Dnia 12-12-2007, ??r o godzinie 08:59 +0000, Ian Hickson pisze:
> > Most people don't mark up abbreviations or acronyms at all, they
> > only mark them up at all to give the expansions generally. And for
> > this purpose, it doesn't really matter which is which (not to
> > mention that different people disagree on which is which -- I say
> > "ess quere ell" and "ewe are ell", others say "sequel" and "earl").
> ... I hardly see any valid disagreement.

Your saying "valid" suggests you do see significant disagreement that
you consider to be "invalid".  While it's invalid in your eyes, it's
presumably valid to the person making it -- which proves Ian's point
that people differ on these definitions.

> A rule of thumb is that abbreviations are usually written with a dot.

Possibly for some house styles in some languages, but that is far from
universal.  For example you wrote "Mr." with a dot, which is common in
American English, whereas in UK English it would typically be "Mr"
without a dot.  I don't see how this matters in the slightest to HTML5.

In another message Krzysztof ??elechowski writes:

> The term "initialism" is stranger to HTML so this distinction is
> essential for academic linguistic papers only;

Yes, but it demonstrates that even in attempting to make the distinction
between acronyms and abbreviations, HTML4 is failing to follow
real-world definitions that people do make.  That's a plausible argument
for lumping them all together and deciding it isn't worth trying to
support these nuances.

I agree that distinction between initialisms and acronyms isn't worth
making in mark-up -- but why do you believe that distinguishing
initialisms-and-acronyms (both labelled as "acronyms") from
abbreviations is actually useful?

> However, the distinction between an acronym and an abbreviation is
> clear and intuitive.

The fact that in this thread there are people you're disagreeing with
suggests that however clear it is in your mind, others struggle with it.


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