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Re: Is "XML" an abbreviation or an acronym?

  • From: mike@m...
  • To: xml-dev@l...
  • Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 12:56:18 +0100 (BST)

Re:  Is "XML" an abbreviation or an acronym?
"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

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.


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