[thelist] Use of <abbr title>

Andrew Forsberg andrew at thepander.co.nz
Thu Mar 14 01:37:00 CST 2002

> >acronym: the first letters of several words (for
> >example: WAI = Web Accessibility Initiative)
> Couldn't let this pass. I have a language nazi reputation to maintain,
> after all. ;)
> I'm afraid you're not completely right.

Hi Madhu

I'm afraid you're not completely right. Unless popular opinion in the states
and India is different from standard English (wouldn't be surprised):

> An abbreviation *is* a shortened form of a word or phrase. However, CNN,
> PHP, WWW, ISP and IRS are all abbreviations too.
> An acronym is an abbreviation that's pronounced as a word and not as
> separate letters. Examples are NASA, SONAR, WaSP, COBOL, BASIC, and AIDS.

>From the concise OED:
'acronym n. a word, usually pronounced as such, formed from the initial
letters of other words.'

The important thing is 'usually' -- HTML and WaSP are both acronyms despite
what your secondary school teacher told you. Remember when they told you
'fuck' was a nineteenth century legal term/acronym 'for unlawful carnal
knowledge' -- wrong -- try 13th century (plenty of examples in middle scotts
poetry). Few anecdotes from any of my primary / secondary school teachers
have turned out to be correct... guess I'm just suspicious.


I owe a tip. Many tips coming shortly...

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