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Re: [OT] RE: Disambiguation Re: Verified issues - week of 26 April

From: Avi Arditti <aardit@voa.gov>
Date: Mon, 03 May 2004 16:26:50 -0400
Message-ID: <4096AB0A.ABBF50BB@voa.gov>
To: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Cc: "'John M Slatin'" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>, "'WAI-GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "'Yvette P. Hoitink'" <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>

Yes, thanks -- I knew enough about the requisite etiquette with business
cards not to insult anyone (at least not too badly, I hope.) In fact, I
find myself doing it with other people's cards, too. Sort of analogous,
I suppose, to the benefits of wheelchair ramps extending to people
without wheelchairs!

Take care,
Avi 

Richard Ishida wrote:
> 
> Most Far Eastern people would feel that way about business cards.  Also,
> don't stick their cards in your back pocket, or offer them grubby versions
> of your own.  Best to have little business card holder.  After a Japanese
> person gives you their card (which you should take with two hands to be
> polite and with thanks), you should take a moment to read and even briefly
> discuss it, or at least read out or comment on some aspect of the
> information.  Then, if you are sitting at a table, you will do well to lay
> it carefully on the table before you - neatly, and not covered up.
> 
> You might find it interesting to look up some of the many books and articles
> covering cultural differences.  There's a lot more where these came from...
> ;-)
> 
> RI
> 
> ============
> Richard Ishida
> W3C
> 
> contact info:
> http://www.w3.org/People/Ishida/
> 
> W3C Internationalization:
> http://www.w3.org/International/
> 
> 
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Avi Arditti [mailto:aardit@voa.gov]
> > Sent: 03 May 2004 20:05
> > To: Richard Ishida
> > Cc: 'John M Slatin'; 'WAI-GL'; 'Yvette P. Hoitink'
> > Subject: Re: Disambiguation Re: Verified issues - week of 26 April
> >
> > OK, I knew this anecdote would come in handy sometime ...
> >
> > Last month I was at the TESOL (Teachers of English to
> > Speakers of Other
> > Languages) convention in California, promoting VOA Special
> > English. I heard someone say that in certain cultures, people
> > do not like to have the back of their business card written
> > on by someone else. It is as if an extension of themselves is
> > being written on.
> >
> > Now I don't know who might think this. But it hit me with the
> > same surprise as when I first learned that some writers
> > purposely avoid getting to the point -- for fear, as you and
> > John said, of insulting the reader. I understand that similar
> > justification is used for what others would consider
> > plagiarism in student writing. That is, to rewrite in one's
> > own words is to insult the learned source of the material.
> >
> > Then there are the cultures that value what others might
> > dismiss as flowery writing.
> >
> > So, for me at least, the more of these insights I collect,
> > the more I can fine-tune what I edit or write -- if not to
> > make it more appealing to more people, then at least less
> > unappealing.
> >
> > Avi
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > as a surprise, if not a shock, to people who do not work with
> > language (writing, editing or teaching) for a living.
> >
> >
> > Richard Ishida wrote:
> > >
> > > I had the same problem a few years back while helping a
> > Chinese woman
> > > studying at Cambridge (UK) check her essays. Her paragraphs
> > would lead
> > > you towards an idea, but never actually state the point
> > clearly before
> > > going on to another tack.
> > >
> > > She was astonished that I was telling her to state the
> > point clearly
> > > up-front and dot all the I's and cross the T's.  She was
> > amazed that
> > > spelling everything out so clearly wouldn't be insulting to the
> > > reader, who she expected would want to play a part in
> > reaching the conclusions.
> > >
> > > RI
> > >
> > > ============
> > > Richard Ishida
> > > W3C
> > >
> > > contact info:
> > > http://www.w3.org/People/Ishida/
> > >
> > > W3C Internationalization:
> > > http://www.w3.org/International/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org
> > > > [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of John M Slatin
> > > > Sent: 03 May 2004 17:54
> > > > To: Avi Arditti; WAI-GL
> > > > Cc: Yvette P. Hoitink
> > > > Subject: RE: Disambiguation Re: Verified issues - week of 26 April
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Interesting and important point, Avi.
> > > >
> > > > In a writing class I taught about 10 years ago, an Asian
> > woman said
> > > > something that opened up a whole world of difference for
> > me.  I had
> > > > returned several of her papers with suggestions for getting more
> > > > directly to the point.  She was clearly very bright, but she just
> > > > wouldn't come to the point, no matter what I said, no
> > matter how I
> > > > marked up sentences, suggested transitions,e tc.  Finally
> > she told
> > > > me that in her culture it was considered rude to come directly to
> > > > the
> > > > point-- especially for a woman addressing a man.
> > > >
> > > > And of course there are cases in which speaking clearly and
> > > > unambiguously can result in the death of the speaker.
> > > >
> > > > John
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > "Good design is accessible design."
> > > > Please note our new name and URL!
> > > > John Slatin, Ph.D.
> > > > Director, Accessibility Institute
> > > > University of Texas at Austin
> > > > FAC 248C
> > > > 1 University Station G9600
> > > > Austin, TX 78712
> > > > ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
> > > > email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
> > > > web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: Avi Arditti [mailto:aardit@voa.gov]
> > > > Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 11:37 am
> > > > To: WAI-GL
> > > > Cc: John M Slatin; Yvette P. Hoitink
> > > > Subject: Re: Disambiguation Re: Verified issues - week of 26 April
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > To a lot of English speakers, active voice + short sentences =
> > > > clarity.
> > > > Then, too, to a lot of people, the last time they learned
> > to write
> > > > was fifth grade (to paraphrase something I heard once.)
> > > >
> > > > Not all Web authors -- or lawyers or scientists or so on -- are
> > > > writers, and not all writers are good communicators.
> > Thus, when told
> > > > "write clearly," chances are they do not know how, and so
> > interpret
> > > > that defensively as censorship.
> > > >
> > > > I have watched online authoring become a dominant topic
> > within the
> > > > Society for Technical Communication. (In fact, there was a recent
> > > > article about WCAG and the group.) The idea is that the
> > Web offers
> > > > new opportunities for technical writers -- if they could just
> > > > convince project managers.
> > > >
> > > > Writers can find myriad lists of elements that go into "plain
> > > > English."
> > > > What I have yet to find (maybe I haven't looked enough) is a
> > > > collection of similar elements for other languages. For
> > example, is
> > > > referring to someone directly ("you") considered rude? Is passive
> > > > voice preferred to subject-verb-object? Is narrative form better
> > > > than vertical lists?
> > > >
> > > > Multilingual groups like this within W3C seem ideally suited to
> > > > generate lists of common plain-language principles to help Web
> > > > authors. I would volunteer to compile any submissions for use as,
> > > > say, a WCAG appendix item or linked document.
> > > >
> > > > Avi Arditti
> > > > Feature Editor,
> > > > VOA Special English
> > > > Washington, DC
> > > > www.voaspecialenglish.com
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > John M Slatin wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > The last sentence in Yvette's list of examples--
> > > > >
> > > > > >It's forgotten to take the dog home.
> > > > >
> > > > > Is not something a native spaker of English would say:
> > > > > (1) A native speaker would not use the pronoun "it" to
> > refer to a
> > > > > person
> > > > > (2) A native spaker would not say "It is forgotten to
> > take the dog
> > > > > home."  On the other hand, a native speaker might well say
> > > > "It's been
> > > > > forgotten," which would expand to "It has been forgotten."
> > > > >
> > > > > This doesn't mean that a sentence like the one in the examples
> > > > > list would never appear on the Web!  But the others are
> > better examples.
> > > > >
> > > > > Still, I would agree with Chaals: requiring markup of such
> > > > > commonly occurring contractions would make the guidelines appear
> > > > unreasonable
> > > > > and create resistance.
> > > > >
> > > > > John
> > > > >
> > > > > "Good design is accessible design."
> > > > > Please note our new name and URL!
> > > > > John Slatin, Ph.D.
> > > > > Director, Accessibility Institute
> > > > > University of Texas at Austin
> > > > > FAC 248C
> > > > > 1 University Station G9600
> > > > > Austin, TX 78712
> > > > > ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
> > > > > email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
> > > > > web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org
> > > > [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
> > > > > Behalf Of Yvette P. Hoitink
> > > > > Sent: Sunday, May 02, 2004 3:02 pm
> > > > > To: 'WAI-GL'
> > > > > Subject: RE: Disambiguation Re: Verified issues - week
> > of 26 April
> > > > >
> > > > > Chaals asked:
> > > > >
> > > > > > > The Web
> > > > > > >Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 will be laughed out of
> > > > > > town if it
> > > > > > >even flirts with the idea of forcing us to use markup like
> > > > > > ><span title="it has">it's</span>.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Do you have 5 examples of "it's" which mean "it has", please?
> > > > >
> > > > > It's been a great effort to create 5 examples. It's
> > gotten to the
> > > > > point where it's succeeded. It's meant that the dog remained in
> > > > > the mall. The puppy was left behind, it's forgotten. It's owner
> > > > > was an eleven year old child. It's forgotten to take
> > the dog home.
> > > > >
> > > > > The last three sentences show three different meanings
> > of "it's".
> > > > > Especially "it's forgotten" may mean either it has
> > > > forgotten (active)
> > > > > or it is forgotten (passive) which can't always be
> > resolved from
> > > > > context.
> > > > >
> > > > > Yvette Hoitink
> > > > > Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
> > > > > E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
> > > > > WWW: http://www.heritas.nl
> > > >
> >
Received on Monday, 3 May 2004 16:27:24 GMT

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