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Re: controlled use of language

From: jonathan chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002 17:57:36 +0100
Message-ID: <008501c1fdc3$f2487750$613029d9@RJCHETWYND>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>, "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>
Cc: "lisa Seeman" <seeman@netvision.net.il>, "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
you are a brick charles,
may I remind you that there is no written british constitution?
did i get that right?

I was wondering how many serious games players it takes to keep wai running.
and perhaps whether that relates to the very slow uptake on my scripting
document, which was crap.

seriously there really is very little discussion of conflict and
co-operation or game theory on these lists.
and yet much that relates to partial solutions.

good games such as chess and go develop at about the speed of languages.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
To: "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>
Cc: "lisa Seeman" <seeman@netvision.net.il>; "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2002 3:13 PM
Subject: Re: controlled use of language

As a linguist I can sympathise with the idea that trying to fix a single
simple language is doomed to failure. Parolone esperanton?

I donīt think that essential feature of people means that Lisa is barking up
the wrong tree (or is trying to do the wrong thing). A given communication
language relies on the conventions of the time, and these change. Nobody
really seems to understand what "handsome is as handsome does" used to mean,
although through strange history it still makes sense in the modern usage.

At any time, there are ways of controlling language usage that can provide a
simplification, especially if they are agreed conventions. That is a bit
different to having entirely unambiguous language - but improvements are
better than nothing.

As it happens I talked to a large company that has automated tools for
enforcing this in their documents, as well as another who put a high
on meeting their rules for simple language and illustration in all

As a further example, many armies and training schools in particular have
been doing this for years - because it is important to them that their
message is communicated.

There is always an argument that acessibility is incompatible with art. I
donīt believe that is a sound argument. However, it is possible to make art
that is not compatible with accessibility. It is possible to make art that
compatible with accessibility. It is possible to use the methods developed
art to enrich communication. This is not the same as arguing that the most
important feature of the US Constitution is its artistic value. The most
important feature, clearly, is the rules it lays out for a society to govern
itself, and to the extent those are not able to be clearly interpreted and
understood there are all sorts of corrective measures required, like an
expensive collection of mostly old men to help interpret.

For the rest, it is a question of our skill as writers, just as producing
appropriate alt text is a question of our skill at interpreting graphic
communication and translating the message to text. The more we can create
simple rules, the easier that most things will become. We should not make
hard things impossible, but it is very helpfulto make the common things


On Thu, 16 May 2002, William Loughborough wrote:

  At 10:16 PM 5/15/2002 -0700, lisa Seeman wrote:
  >controlled use of language

  Who will control the controllers? If it is to be some version of the
  Academe, they must be prepared for forms of ridicule/satire beyond
  presently available.

Certainly. Thanks in advance for supplying it <grin/>
Received on Friday, 17 May 2002 12:57:53 UTC

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