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RE: Definition of Contraction:

From: Yvette P. Hoitink <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 21:46:23 +0200
To: "'WAI WCAG List'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20040519195307.2B076A0E19@frink.w3.org>

Hello Kerstin,

The contractions I brought up are part of the normal Dutch language, both
written and spoken. It's similar to "o'clock" in English. Nobody uses the
full forms anymore, many people won't even know what the full forms are
(especially people with a limited vocabulary). If I write in Dutch "such a
boy goes to school in the morning" I will write "zo'n jongen gaat 's morgens
naar school", even in the most formal writing I can think of. 

Because these contractions are part of the normal Dutch language, both spell
checkers and grammar checkers will find them perfectly acceptable. The "zo
een jongen gaat des morgens naar school" form also passes both spell
checkers and grammar checkers but I think that is partly because grammar
checkers for Dutch aren't as well developed as grammar checkers for English
so they tend to miss a lot of errors. School teachers wouldn't allow the
non-contracted forms since they are no longer part of our language (just
like an English teacher wouldn't allow "he doth his homework" unless it's a
Shakespearean essay). 

We can't require advanced linguistic knowledge from our authors, so I think
we can't ask them to provide the full versions for grammatical contractions
for which the full versions have either disappeared from the language or are
rarely used. This means we need to make a distinction between different
types of grammatical contractions. 

I'm still looking forward to some examples where contractions cause
accessibility problems, by the way :-) Although I can imagine that there are
cases where contractions can be confusing, I can't think of an example
myself. If we want to include a success criteria about contractions, the
least we can do is find a few examples that cause accessibility problems and
discuss what the best way would be to solve them. 

Yvette Hoitink
Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
WWW: http://www.heritas.nl

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kerstin Goldsmith [mailto:kerstin.goldsmith@oracle.com] 
> Sent: woensdag 19 mei 2004 20:36
> To: Yvette P. Hoitink
> Cc: 'WAI WCAG List'
> Subject: Re: Definition of Contraction:
> Yvette:
> Question:  are the contractions you bring up here actually in 
> the written version of Dutch, and used as acceptable 
> contractions in written Dutch.  Or is this more a spoken 
> issue, as with Charles' example of "most any" instead of 
> "almost any."  I would posit that Charles' example is simply 
> poor grammar, and if found on sites would be hard to 
> regulate.  Do grammar checkers catch such a thing? 
> was not
> wasn't
> are both grammatical contractions.  It just seems like we 
> will need to differentiate between grammatical contractions 
> and colloquialisms (which I would argue are not regulatable).
> -kerstin
> Yvette P. Hoitink wrote:
> >Hello all,
> > 
> >In the examples of contractions I have seen "o'clock", "isn't", etc. 
> >Can someone explain to me what accessibility problems are 
> involved in 
> >those? I can't see much problems with those. Can someone give me 
> >examples of contractions that really limit accessibility?
> >
> >In our language, Dutch, we have some contractions that have 
> been used 
> >instead of the full versions for decades, maybe even 
> centuries. Examples: "
> >'s morgens" instead of "des morgens", "zo'n" instead of "zo 
> een". The 
> >full word 'des' has all but disappeared from our language, 
> and won't be 
> >familiar to people with learning disabilities.
> >
> >For these examples, most people won't even realize that they are 
> >contractions and might get confused and even not understand 
> you if you 
> >provide the full version. In my estimate, this will be 
> especially true 
> >for people with learning disabilities. The contracted 
> versions are the 
> >simple versions, providing the full archaic versions won't 
> benefit anyone.
> >
> >It seems to me that there are contractions that would benefit from 
> >providing the full version for better understanding, and 
> that there are 
> >contractions where providing the full version could be 
> harmful. I don't 
> >know that we can come up with a clear definition to separate the two 
> >but we have to be careful not to do more harm than good.
> >
> >Yvette Hoitink
> >Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
> >E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
> >WWW: http://www.heritas.nl
> >
> >
> >  
> >
Received on Wednesday, 19 May 2004 15:53:08 UTC

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