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Subject: Re: [dita] proposal on "vocabulary" terminology

Eliot wrote:

>"document type" is certainly the most accurate if you take it to mean
>"abstract document type" (that is, a set of types distinct from any
>implementation expression of them) but I think that most people don't
>make that distinction, especially people like many of us with deep SGML
>brain damage, where there was no obvious need to distinquish between the
>abstract document type and its syntactic expression.

I don't understand. Does "document type" imply a particular syntactic expression? Its use in the XHTML specification certainly implies that it can be used for either schemas or DTDs, in exactly the manner we want.

>That's one reason I prefer "vocabulary"--it's completely (and in the
>namespace spec, explicitly) divorced from any particular syntactic or
>formal definition or expression of the vocabulary.

I'm not convinced that "document type" is any more wedded to syntactic expression, and it has the advantage of already meaning exactly what we want it to mean.

Basically, you'll need to explain to me why the XHTML spec is wrong in its usage. And this is one place where I'm probably a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist: that is, if the major modularization initiative on the Web already uses a particular set of terms, then we should be following that existing usage rather than inventing our own.

Michael Priestley
Dept PRG IBM Canada  phone: 416-915-8262
Toronto Information Development

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