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RE: controlled use of language

From: john_slatin <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 07:29:50 -0500
Message-ID: <6AC4E20EED49D411941400D0B77E52F0074B8FDC@forum.cc.utexas.edu>
To: "'lisa Seeman'" <seeman@netvision.net.il>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org
I appreciate the urgency of the desire for absolute clarity.  But, like
other forms of perfection, it's not achievable in human terms.  Language is
a complex adaptive system; it thrives, and serves us, precisely because it's
situated where complexity is always situated: right on the boundary between
order and chaos, where life itself occurs.  I would argue that a drive of
the sort that Lisa suggests here is actually *productive* of ambiguity.
In English at least, efforts like this date back at least to the 16th
century, to the inherently undecidable debate between adherents of "plain
style" and adherents to a more ornamental rhetoric.  Probably the most
influential version of the debate was shaped by the formation of the British
Royal Society in the 17th century, some of whose members sought to shape the
language such that for every "thing" there would be one, and only one, word.
People interested in more contemporary manifestations of this effort as it
pertains to comptuer science and the problems of translation might be
interested in the work of Douglas Hofstadter, beginning with _Godel, Escher,
Bach_ (1979) and _Metamagical Themas_ (collected Scientific American
columns, 1985), and _Le Ton Beau de Marot: In praise of the music of
lanuage_ (1997).
 -----Original Message-----
From: lisa Seeman [mailto:seeman@netvision.net.il]
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 12:16 AM
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org; w3c-wai-pf@w3.org
Subject: controlled use of language

In view of the anticipated development of symbolic language and the general
need of clear writing, I think there is a definitive need for controlled use
of language. But, as has been pointed  out, web authors will not like to use
one. So I want to develop a standard technique for marking up typical
electronic textual content, and referencing textual content, so that it's
meaning becomes unambiguous, translatable and machine-readable.
I think this is better done of the list, but if anyone wants to join me on
this, please let me know. Be prepared for it to be a long process.
Please feel free not to bother telling me why you think it is undue burden
or not necessary. 
Thank you all.
Lisa Seeman
Widen the world web !
Received on Thursday, 16 May 2002 08:29:52 UTC

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