Re: Pronouncing initialisms/acronyms (was: e-mail)

Subject: Re: Pronouncing initialisms/acronyms (was: e-mail)
From: Stuart Reynolds <reynolds -at- IC -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 11:39:43 -0500

>To bring this back to technical writing: if you are trying to
>decide on "a or an before an initialism" (a fascinating
>thread occurring on copyediting-l right now) and want to
>apply the rule "initial consonant sound gets a; initial vowel
>sound gets an" -- how do you decide on the initial sound of a
>new Net initialism that hasn't made its way into dictionaries
>yet? Is it "a you-are-ell" or "an earl"? And why (or why not)?

Not that simple though, is it. As with most things, there are =
exceptions to the *rule*. Not all words beginning with a vowel get =
"an". Some get "a" because of the vowel. Uniform.. is not An Uniform.. =
it is A Uniform. "Universal Joint" gets "A Universal Joint", whereas =
"Opening" gets "An Opening". With regards to U-R-L and "earl", going =
back to a point earlier in you message, the "majority" use U-R-L. =
Especially those involved in development and the infrastructure. And, =
You-Are-Ell, is using the initial letters of the words.. earl is not. =
So, that creates a difference also. The first word *IS* Universal.. =
therefore, I don't see where "er" from Earl comes from. As you say, =
there is no definitive [yet] in a dictionary.. but in a conversation =
about the Internet, I would offer that someone saying earl, is likely to =
get questioned responses whereas, people using U-R-L will not. This =
assuming, you are in a conversation with people who use the Internet and =
not ones, who know nothing about it.


Stuart Reynolds
reynolds -at- ic -dot- net
First Impression Graphics
web page design & implementation
tech writing, creative concepts, graphic design,=20
DTP, exhibition graphics, packaging solutions

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