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Re: [xml-dev] Is "XML" an abbreviation or an acronym?

I rethought this concept, and below are the definitions again (with
definition of 'word' also) ...

abbreviation - a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase,
used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, lb. for pound.

acronym - a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters
of words in a set phrase or series of words, as OPEC from Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.

word - a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or
their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of

As per XML spec, "Extensible Markup Language, abbreviated XML ..."

I am convinced about the correctness of these definitions (taken, from
www.dictionary.com, which I am following since many years, and regard

So, for me, XML is, abbreviation.

On 8/25/08, mike@mullsoft.co.uk <mike@mullsoft.co.uk> wrote:
> "You may be reading the above definitions a bit odd, but it certainly
> isn't clear. It does in fact *not* say that the acronym must form a
> word"
> The definition starts "acronym - a word formed..." seems to me to a clear statement that it must be a word. I think that a word is something more than just a sequence of letters; there are two ways in which we could define what is meant by a word (in a given language) which should be familiar to all who use XML! One is the idea of being well-formed, which I suppose in this context is the same as pronounceable. The other is more strict and implies a defined semantic context, fitting in with a schema (in this case a dictionary). Commonly when defining "acronym" the first is used - so that laser, radar and opec all qualify; however in the cases of laser and radar the acronym has entered common usage to such an extent that they are now defined as words and people forget their origin. There are certainly people who insist on the second definition of word being used, but these tend to be linguists rather than users of the acronyms.
> The point still remains that XML does not fit either definition. It is not a word, just a sequence of letters so it can only be an abbreviation, not an acronym.
> Mike

Mukul Gandhi

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