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Re: ordinal numbers


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Apr 30, 2008 2:00PM

Peter Weil wrote:

> I'm wondering how screen readers handle ordinal numbers that are not
> spelled out;

It depends, but there's not much you can do about it, and it's not
really such a big issue, compared with all the other problems.

> Or should web authors treat these as
> abbreviations? Example:
> <abbr title="fifty ninth">59th</abbr> Street

No, because
a) they are not abbreviations but just different notations
b) <abbr> is poorly supported and often causes more harm than help
(e.g., causes mysterious dotted underline to confuse users)
c) the meaning of title="..." is just 'advisory title', and it is used
in varying ways, so there's little point in believing that it means how
the content should be spelled out.

> I suppose it would be ideal to spell these terms out, but the Chicago
> Manual of Style (and others, I suspect) call for spelling out ordinal
> numerals of only one hundred or less.

In fact, by "easy language" recommendations, all numbers should be
written using digits, since they are considered as more comprehensible
to people with cognitive difficulties. This might be extremistic, and
it's not suitable for texts for a general audience, but there's a point
in the idea.

Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")