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Re: controlled use of language

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 13:13:43 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>, "lisa Seeman" <seeman@netvision.net.il>, "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 12:01 PM 2002-05-16, Sean B. Palmer wrote:
>[Snipping WAI PF since, IMO, language is neither a protocol nor a format

What we are talking about is the _protocol_ which governs the coupled use of controlled and uncontrolled vocabularies.  And multiple definitions of vocabularies with different control protocols.  Some are controlled through consensus, publication and registration [Dublin Core], some through feedback methods, responding to demographics of vocabulary control in populations at cognitive risk [CD word lists].  The controlled vocabularies are an extreme form of "lowest level language" in the sense in which TimBL uses that notion.  Hence a form of format.  Ergo: it's all about protocols and formats.


Pinpoint example:

I tried to find a basis for "spellcheck your content" in WCAG 2.0.

The "check you work" guideline only talks about orthodox use of markup, not of text.  Wrong.  There are unmarked encodings in the text that need to be valid, too.  See the "use real words in standard spellings" thread dealing with SGRS [search on "orthographic" in www-voice list].  This has to be in our graph of clauses, too.

And this is a technique which follows from all of "use clear and and simple expression," "compatibility with AT" and "use technology with hygiene."  Multiple heredity -- you can't file it safely under either.


>From: "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>
>> So to "Be prepared for it to be a long process." is a
>> matter of *forever* because it ain't gonna happen.
>Whilst I agree with the "who's going to police the police? The coastguard?"
>sentiment, I think that Lisa is not (just?) hinting towards a controlled
>language (which, like Orwell's Newspeak, is absurd), but rather/also
>towards regularized interfaces for creating Web content.
>Sidenote: whilst this is at a tangent to any useful discussion, there have
>of course been numerous studies conducted on simplifying languages. A good
>starting point is the AECMA's "Simplified English":-
>http://www.userlab.com/Downloads/SE.pdf (PDF only; sorry)
>also: http://www.aecma.org/Publications/SEnglish/sengbrc.htm
>which is all well and good, but is aimed towards people who have a
>relatively high understanding of English in the first place, and can spend
>the time and effort working on a simplified vocabulary; i.e. applies to a
>minute fraction of the population.
>But onto more promising avenues of discussion. I like the DAML
>(http://www.daml.org/tools/) approach of having content forms, where people
>can create homepage metadata by searching and/or selecting (Prof. Jim
>Hendler has talked about this). It was also one of the aims of UWIMP, which
>is the service that William and I planned many months ago.
>If we are to create William's much prophecized ambient information space,
>it must be possible for the people with the information to publish what
>they know with minimal costs and maximum benefits to them. This is only
>going to be possible through small incremental changes, although if some
>organization like Google or Alexa gave over their already vast data stores
>to the Web community, that would help a lot (why pay for a server when
>Google and Alexa index it for free anyway?).
>It's an ongoing battle. Metadata formats such as RDF are there to help too,
>and a standardized deployment of RDF-in/from-HTML is long overdue
>(hopefully not another manifestation of the six month phenomenon). RDF is
>good because the Semantic part of the Semantic Web is there to satisfy the
>(much ballyhooed) "semantic pragmatic" nature of machines.
>But marking up text itself to be "unambiguous" is rather HumanMLish in
>character... the waste of time criticisms are justifiable for corollaries
>of "the language moves faster than the editor". Not only that, but language
>is art - if you move towards unambiguity, you may lose the essence of many
>of the great works. One's mind may drift back to Jefferson's famous "we
>hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable", and wonder what he thought of
>Adams' and Franklin's (if their) modifications.
>Kindest Regards,
>Sean B. Palmer
>@prefix : <http://purl.org/net/swn#> .
>:Sean :homepage <http://purl.org/net/sbp/> .
Received on Thursday, 16 May 2002 13:40:08 UTC

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