Ooops, I meant to say Initialism. :)
|A set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately, as FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation. Or URI for Uniform Resource Indentifier. |
[edited by: pageoneresults at 10:00 pm (utc) on Jan. 12, 2007]
That sounds even more appropriate than 'acronym'! And the learning continues ... :)
[edited by: StupidScript at 10:01 pm (utc) on Jan. 12, 2007]
So, do we do this...
<abbr title="Uniform Resource Identifier">URI</abbr>
<acronym title="Uniform Resource Identifier">URI</acronym>
I'm so confused!
<initialism title="Uniform Resource Identifier">URI</initialism>, of course!
>>>>> that sounds even more appropriate than 'acronym'!
Except no one will know what you're talking about.
Can anyone come up with a good example where the distinction between locator, identifier and name actually makes sense? In the real world, I mean.
Dude! URL ends in L.
|I read the document several times and could not understand the difference between URI and URL. Any help? |
To suggest that an acronym is always spelt out rather pronounced as a word is utter nonsense.
Definitions word formed from the initial letters of a series of words.
URL: An acronym for "Uniform Resource Locator".
Incidentally, "IBM" would not normally be considered an acronym simply because it cannot be pronounced as a word. On the other hand, "LASER" is an acronym - you would never spell it out in normal spoken usage.
Searching google for "a URL" and "an URL" does suggest a large majority of writers agree with you, but majorities can be, and often are WRONG.
As defined above, "URL" is an acronym, therefore it is a word and therefore should correctly be pronounced as "earl" rather than spelt out U.R.L. - following this logic, it is also worth pointing out that URL could and perhaps should be written in lower case as as url ...
Acronyms that represent organisations (or proper nouns) are normally written in upper case, e.g. NATO, but acronyms that represent objects, etc. (simple nouns) are normally written in lower case, e.g. laser - certainly, this is true as the acronym comes into common usage and becomes part of the language.
Does anyone actually say 'earl' for URL? I mean say it as a word?
|Does anyone actually say 'earl' for URL? I mean say it as a word? |
I can't speak for Americans, but few britons would say "you-are-elle" instead of "earl" except those that think they are supposed to because they read it somewhere.
In the UK, newsreaders always pronounce "NASA" as "Nasser" - how is it pronounced by newsreaders in the USA?
The purpose of an acronym is brevity - spelling out acronyms is just plain stupid since it partially negates the reason for their existence!
Majorities aren't wrong in this case, the Britons are. It's pronounced U-R-L. 'Nasser' is wrong too.
Otherwise, the title of this thread would be "It is not Earl, it is Yuri"
Wikipedia does not call URL an acronym, but a synonym for Uniform Resource Locator. (they do mention some people pronounce it 'Earl').
from Dictionary.com - URL -(i would put the actual pronunciation here, but for the weird characters used. Suffice to say it is 'you-are-el')
|Wikipedia does not call URL an acronym, but a synonym for Uniform Resource Locator. (they do mention some people pronounce it 'Earl'). |
SYNONYM: A word that has the same meaning as another word.
Even words and names that are typically written in capitals are usually pronounced normally rather than spelled out - including most United Nations organisations such as UNICEF - would you really pronounce this "you-en-i-see-ee-eff" instead of "you nee seff"?
I accept the majority of writers may say "you-are-el", but then the majority of people (sadly) would say "Bob stepped outside of his house" which is also wrong.
Some people like to (mis)use long words when short words will do just as well (or better). For instance, some people like to say "leverage" when what they mean is "use". Police officers, when being interviewed about an ongoing case almost always attempt to use long words and complex phrases, but they just end up sounding stupid (to those of us who know roughly how to use English properly).
None of that changes the fact that URL is an abbreviation, rather than an acronym.
As with acronyms, the purpose of an abbreviation is brevity. Why use three syllables instead of one - it is irrational!
In some cases (and perhaps some languages) it may not be possible to pronounce an abbreviation, acronym, etc as a normal word - the obvious example is "HTML" but where it is possible, it is normally sensible to do so and there is no valid reason nor precedent for not doing so. However, there will always be a few exceptions such as "USA" (it would be silly to pronounce it "you-sir").
Incidentally, capitalized abbreviations should normally be written with periods (full stops) i.e. "USA" should be written "U.S.A." therefore, to be strictly accurate, if "URL" is a capitalized abbreviation it should be written "U.R.L.".
Languages are fluid - if "URL" is still in use 100 years from now, there is not a snowball's chance in hell of it being generally pronounced "you are el" - people are just too lazy. That goes for URI ("your ree") URN ("earn") and IRI ("eerie" or possibly "eyeree") too. However, I think "address" will be used instead in all but technical documents.
Actually, the RFCs seem to suggest that, despite the title of this discussion, it is (sometimes) URL.
From RFC 2396 (as mentioned in the article the original poster linked to):
"For example, the host names used in URL are actually case insensitive, and the URL <http://www.XEROX.com> is equivalent to <http://www.xerox.com>."
So [XEROX.com...] can be called a URL, according to an RFC that defines the distinction. It doesn't have to be generalised by the term URI, but it can be.
A URL is a URI, but a URI is not necessarily a URL.
--The purpose of an acronym is brevity - spelling out acronyms is just plain stupid since it partially negates the reason for their existence!--
It's not stupid at all! :-)
Does anyone pronounce BBC as "bubuc"? No, everyone says "B B C". BBC is easier to say than British Broadcasting Corporation even though you pronounce every letter.
And how the heck would you pronounce WWW? "Wuh wuh wuh"?
You can't make any hard or fast rules about how acronyms are pronounced, probably because their main function isn't to abbreviate speech but to abbreviate text. If you're writing about the British Broadcasting Corporation, it's a real pain to write that phrase out over and over again. It's far more convenient to just write BBC.
Everyone pronounces BBC as "B B C", but no one pronounces NATO as "N A T O", everyone says "Naetoe". With URL, I've heard both "U R L" and "Earl".
Perhaps the only pattern to it is the following: an acronym such as NATO has a clear easy pronunciation so everyone uses it, and an acronym such as BBC doesn't have a clear pronunciation so everyone just spells it out. An acronym such as URL has a half-obvious pronunciation, so some people pronounce it and some people spell it out.
--A set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately, as FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation. Or URI for Uniform Resource Indentifier.--
That's an acronym.
I've never heard the word "initialism" in my entire life, but I have frequently heard the word "acronym", and Google agrees that "acronym" is far more widely used (37 million vs 162,000).
When the letters of an acronym allow it, someone might choose to pronounce it as a word rather than a set of letters, but that's entirely down to taste. URI is still an acronym, whether someone pronounces it "U R I" or "Yuri".
|When the letters of an acronym allow it, someone might choose to pronounce it as a word rather than a set of letters, but that's entirely down to taste. |
NO - By definition, an acronym is a word and should be pronounced as such. From this definition, it logically follows that, strictly, "BBC" is not an acronym.
It is reasonable to argue that "URL" is an abbreviation (or shorthand, or an initialism, etc.) and could therefore, optionally be pronounced, "you are el". However, it has an obvious pronounciation as an English word and there is absolutely no logical reason to not use it. (As for "URN" - it is an English word already!)
I accept that there is a minor cultural issue here - Americans are generally fonder of initials and verbosity than Britons, but how many Americans pronounce "RAM" as "are-ay-em"?
>>>>> no logical reason to not use it
In US, there is. It sounds goofy. The name has a goofy-country guy name sound to it.
Is it the U-K, or is it yuk? ;)
|Americans are generally fonder of initials and verbosity than Britons, but how many Americans pronounce "RAM" as "are-ay-em"? |
I say we take the ashes of URL (Earl) and put them in the URN (Urn) and then URI (Yuri) and I will sprinkle them across the sands of the Internet.
URL is an abbreviation/initialism for Uniform Resource Locator.
URN is an abbreviation/initialism for Uniform Resource Name.
URI is an abbreviation/initialism for Uniform Resource Identifier.
In my 11+ years of working online and mingling with my peers, I can't recall anyone ever asking me what the Earl was. ;)
[edited by: pageoneresults at 4:22 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2007]
The Dixie Chicks put this matter to rest.
I consider URL (and URI, URN) as TLA's (Three Letter Acroynms). But that brings up the further question, what's the proper plural of URL? Is it "URLs", "URLS", "URL's"?
Aw heck, let's throw another term in the mix...
|Note the distinction between acronyms and initialisms: strictly speaking, one uses the term acronym only when the initials are pronounced as if they compose an actual word, though the term "backronym" is often used less precisely and applied to back-formed initialisms by those who don't know the proper meaning of acronym. |
From a technical perspective, I do believe we are dealing with Initialisms.
>>An http URI is a URL.
You folks can continue this discusion, but I'm agreeing with macdave. This is what most of the discussion around here is all about - http URIs - which are URLs.
|But that brings up the further question, what's the proper plural of URL? Is it "URLs", "URLS", "URL's"? |
Cool URIs don't change
Introduction to HTML 4
2.1.1 Introduction to URIs
|I accept that there is a minor cultural issue here |
It's not just a British/US cultural issue then. I am in Ireland and have never heard ANYONE say anything but U-R-L, I never heard it used as a word.
I work with a good few people in the UK to and never heard any of them use it either, though I have not been looking out for it particularly.
As an aside, in Ireland we say 'law and order', not 'lawr and order' too. The intrusive -r is very much an English tendancy in certain accents rather than a universally British one, it isn't used in Scotland either and the further away from London you get the less likely you are to hear it even in England.
|I never heard it used as a word. |
If you search for "an URL" about 1 million results are found.
If you search for "a URL" about 20 million results are found.
This suggests that ~5% of people who write about such things use the pronounciation "earl". I've been in smaller minorities than 5%.
Excluding the names of organisations, etc. I have been unable to think of any similar acronyms/abbreviations that can be readily pronounced as a word but are not. Can anyone else think of any?
Considering the fact that most URLs are written entirely in lower case, I find it rather ironic that "URL" is capitalised for no reason other than to make some people pronounce it "you are el".
I've never heard URL pronounced as "Earl"; only U-R-L as separate letters.
>> the obvious example is "HTML" <<
I do know someone that pronounces HTML as "hotmail".
Yes, they are clueless about the internet.
>> URL's <<
Lose the apostrophe! Wrong usage.
In answer to my own question, I found a few other acronyms/abbrevitions in common usage that are normally spelled out rather than spoken as words.
IDE (hard disks)
VIP (celebrities, etc.)
VOIP (internet telephony - often spoken as "voice over eye pee" and sometimes written as VoIP)
TOS (terms of service)
TOC (table of contents)
but I think these are normally spoken in full and are not often used anyway.
It seems to me, the vast majority of acronyms/abbreviations (of three letters or more, in common usage and excluding names of organisations, etc.) are spoken as words rather than as letters.
A list of acronyms/abbreviations can be found at
From adsense we have PIP & EFT
Personally, I do say VOIP as a word (I may be the minority here). And I defintely say T-O-S.
I must remember at the next important meeting I go to, to refer to the 'toss' instead of TOS!
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