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RE: Communication RE: gainsaying and Flash captioning

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2004 12:27:34 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A03B52630@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>, "Joe Clark" <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Cc: "WAI-GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

For what it's worth, JAWS made Joe's apt phrase "le mot juste" sound
like LaMott juice," and I found myself wondering what apple juice had to
do with the "gainsaying" controversy... (LaMotte was a brand of apple
juice that was widely available in my youth; for all I know it still
is). Now if Joe had just tagged that phrase as "fr"...

I don't mean to gainsay Joe's gainsaying, which has already been
gainsaid (by Lee, who in turn -- never mind.

"Good design is accessible design."

Dr. John M. Slatin, Director 
Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin 
FAC 248C 
1 University Station G9600 
Austin, TX 78712 
ph 512-495-4288, fax 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 Charles McCathieNevile
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 2:45 AM
To: Joe Clark
Subject: Communication RE: gainsaying and Flash captioning 

It isn't helpful to pick the most impressive-sounding way of saying
something if your goal is to get the idea across. If your goal is simply
to make us think you are smart, it might help. But in this group it
seems to me that how well you explain your idea is a good measure of how
good you are. I often read things I wrote and wish I had taken the time
to be clearer.

"le mot juste" is french for "the right word". It has a sense of having
exactly the right word, rather than just any old thing that means what
you want to say. For example, in poems, it is a challenge to find the
word that fits, has the right sound, meaning, mood, and so on. Speaking
french is often used to seem even more smart, and make what you say seem
extra clever.

As a french speaker, it seems more suited to a french list. There are a
few french phrases like "je ne sais quoi", "le mot juste", "savoir
faire", and so on that were common in english, and useful to show that
you have a good education (since they were only taught in fancy schools,
or learned by people who wanted to seem posh). There are simple ways to
say the same thing in english.

As a language scholar, it seems to me a shame that people don't learn
more about languages - especially if they only speak one. It makes it
hard for them to appreciate great artistic literature. But that
shouldn't stop them from working in other fields, like accessibility.

In writing with style and flair, as Joe does in his book [1], it makes
sense to use interesting language. In trying to communicate basic
technical concepts effectively to an international audience, such as
this working group, it seems better to stick to simple expression. Art
isn't always accessible, but technical communication should be if we
want to get it right.

[1] Joe can give you a reference. In my personal opinion it is a bit
above average in technical terms (great at some things, ordinary at
others). But it is far and away the most enjoyable accessibility book to
read because of the style.

I reviewed it along with a handful of others somewhere, and said as
much. I've read about a dozen books on the topic, in english, spanish,
italian and portuguese, and Joe's writing has more style than any two

just my 2 cents worth...



On Fri, 30 Jul 2004, Joe Clark wrote:

>> I don't have a PhD as many people don't.
>Like, I dunno, me.
>> So, people stop using big words to show off your large vocabulary and

>> start following the guidelines.
>I merely used le mot juste.
>     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
>     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
>     Expect criticism if you top-post

Charles McCathieNevile  http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  tel: +61 409
134 136
SWAD-E http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe         fax(france): +33 4 92 38
78 22
 Post:   21 Mitchell street, FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia    or
 W3C, 2004 Route des Lucioles, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Saturday, 31 July 2004 13:27:51 UTC

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