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Re: HTML techniques - "Terse" substitutes for header labels (no blocker)

From: Carlos A Velasco <Carlos.Velasco@fit.fraunhofer.de>
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 14:17:26 +0100
Message-ID: <3FA8F866.5070007@fit.fraunhofer.de>
To: "Yvette P. Hoitink" <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
Cc: 'Roberto Castaldo' <r.castaldo@iol.it>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Hallo Yvette,

I disagree with you in this point. Being a non-native speaker as well, I find 
concise a very common word, and easily tranlatable to Spanish, German, and as 
far as I know to French (also I find terse adequate). Furthermore, the use of 
"compact" IMHO might only lead to confusion.

Furthermore, I don't believe we shall write the guidelines (although targeted to 
different audiences), neither with a high-school level nor with a 10-years-old 
native speaker in mind. If we get into that, the average English-level of a 
person with Masters Degree in Spain might be comparable with a four-years-old 
native speaker (sad but true). This thread of reasoning can lead to serious 
problems for the editors of the guidelines.


Yvette P. Hoitink wrote:
> Perhaps for Italians the word "concise" is very clear, because it exists in
> Italian as well (in a different variant). For the Germanic languages I know
> besides English (Dutch, German), there is no variant of "concise", which
> makes it a more difficult word for us. I also took French in high school,
> which has "concis". I had to look this up in a dictionary since that is not
> part of our normal high school vocabulary and I didn't know it. 
> My estimate is that at most half the people with a Master's degree in the
> Netherlands would know the English word "concise". I don't think the average
> person with a high school degree in the Netherlands would know it (even
> though English is mandatory for almost everyone). The average Dutchmen will
> have had about 6-8 years of English lessons when leaving high school (which
> is a lot more than in many non-English speaking countries). I would guess
> that the vocabulary of a Dutch kid leaving high school is about the same as
> that of a 10-year-old native speaker. Would you use "terse" or "concise" to
> explain something to the 10-year-old kid next door?
> We have to be very careful when choosing which words to use. For each
> non-trivial word, we have to balance the number of people who appreciate the
> more expressive power of that word against the people who will not
> understand it. For "terse" and "concise", I think the balance tips the wrong
> way so we should avoid them.
> Roberto Castaldo and Roberto Scano, what do you think of "compact"? Does
> Italian have "compacto" or something? 

Dr Carlos A Velasco - mailto:Carlos.Velasco@fit.fraunhofer.de
Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik (FIT.LIFE)
   [Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT.LIFE)]
   Barrierefreie Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie für Alle
   Schloss Birlinghoven, D53757 Sankt Augustin (Germany)
   Tel: +49-2241-142609 Fax: +49-2241-1442609
Received on Wednesday, 5 November 2003 08:22:50 UTC

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