> russ - maxdesign

> Acronyms
> --------------------------
> Acronyms are a subset of abbreviations, as they are still 
> shortened words.
> However, they are more specific. An acronym is defined as a 
> WORD formed from
> the initial letters of a multi-word name. The important point 
> here is that
> an acronym must be a WORD - this means that the joined 
> initial letters must
> be able to be pronounced.

And this is where the worms usually are...the requirement for
pronouncability of the formed word. Certain developers (me included,
I'm afraid) don't see this as a main sticking point, and would
put initialisms into acronym, rather than abbreviation.

We *could* start debating this again, but because:

- acronyms are abbreviations, and therefore initialisms marked up
as acronyms are therefore still abbreviations
- the distinction of acronm and abbreviation is removed in XHTML2.0
(yes, I know...in 2021 when we'll finally be using it)
- no current "semantic" tool makes any hard distinction between them

I'd say it becomes an exercise in splitting hairs. The main key is
consistency: whether you think initialisms are acronyms or abbreviations,
choose a camp and stick with it. If, for instance, you consistently
mark up HTML as <acronym title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</acronym>
on all your pages, and later find out that you were wrong (once the
gods of semantics appear to you in a dream, or something), you can
still do a site-wide replace for it (or, heck, use XSLT to transform
all your XHTML, whatever).

However, for people who do like to split hairs, I'd take this one step
further and say: does "WORD" imply pronouncability? Discuss...

Patrick H. Lauke
Webmaster / University of Salford
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