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RE: 4.1 success criteria - proposal for division

From: john_slatin <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 09:25:40 -0500
Message-ID: <6AC4E20EED49D411941400D0B77E52F0074B95B8@forum.cc.utexas.edu>
To: "'Charles McCathieNevile'" <charles@w3.org>, WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Charles makes an excellent point.  Perhaps the advice section for 4.1 could
include something to the effect that authors should follow the conventions
appropriate to the natural language of the content.  A further point: even
in English, it's not always appropriate to avoid the passive.  There are
times when it isn't possible to assign grammatical agency-- especially in
bureaucratic writing.  The Section 508 standards would fail this criterion
if we were to insist on it, for example.

There are implicit cultural assumptions here, too.  In the United States,
for example, many people place high value on coming directly to "the point,"
both in writing and in oral communication.  But in many countries such
directness is considered rude, and in some cases it may be politically
dangerous (which is why satire flourishes under repressive regimes).


John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Technology & Learning
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C, Mail code G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.ital.utexas.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org] 
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2002 9:05 am
Subject: 4.1 success criteria - proposal for division


I think it is important that any success criteria for language use includes
a list of applicable languages.

For example, there is a proposal not to use noun sequences. In french, one
can reasonably say

  la version du loi de droits de general de gaulle

(either: General de Gaulle's version of the law of rights, or the version of
the law of General de Gaulle's rights).

Similarly, it is proposed that verbs in the passive mood be avoided. (I.e.
the last sentence would fail, twice). I don't know if this applies in all

If we do not think that a criterion works for a particular language, we
should not say anything. If we think that a criterion does not work for a
particular language, we should say so. I realise that this will leave us
with a weaker list than we might have, but hopefully it will encourage
people with relevant expertise to help fill the list. It will also hopefully
mean we avoid saying things that are wrong and would cause problems.



Charles McCathieNevile  http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  tel: +61 409 134
136 SWAD-E http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe ------------ WAI
http://www.w3.org/WAI  21 Mitchell street, FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
fax(fr): +33 4 92 38 78 22  W3C, 2004 Route des Lucioles, 06902 Sophia
Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Thursday, 22 August 2002 10:25:43 UTC

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