E-mail List Archives

Re: WCAG 2 draft and abbreviations


From: Christophe Strobbe
Date: May 31, 2007 11:40AM

Hi Jared,

At 18:13 31/05/2007, Jared Smith wrote:

>I also want to point out that WCAG 2.0 *finally* clarifies that all
>acronyms can also be abbreviations. Thus, you never need to use
>acronym at all, though you can where it's appropriate - assuming you
>understand where it is appropriate (even the WCAG 2.0 documentation
>gets it wrong).

The point is that there are basically two definitions of "abbreviation":
(a) shortened form of a word (a strict definition)
(b) abbreviated form (which encompasses (a), acronyms, initialisms, ...)

With regard to acronyms, many people have stated that if an
abbreviated from composed of initial letters cannot be pronounced as
a word, it should not be called an acronym. Is that what you are
referring to when you say that "the WCAG 2.0 documentation
gets it wrong"? I have checked over 20 dictionaries and linguistic
references in 5 different languages (admittedly a small sample [1])
and found no consistency with regard to the pronunciation of
acronyms. That's why WCAG doesn't require that acronyms can be
pronounced as a word.

Best regards,


[1] part of the list is at

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical Engineering - Research Group
on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51

Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm