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RE: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

From: Howard Leicester <howard_leicester@btconnect.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 21:17:02 +0100
To: "'Elizabeth J. Pyatt'" <ejp10@psu.edu>, 'Tobias Bengfort' <tobias.bengfort@posteo.de>
CC: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1799C5F4CB7948239D4E2D7F08D74F89@H30JC4J>
Just to push things a little farther...

What should we do in a discipline with journals etc?

I have this problem at the moment in the UK where we are reviewing support
for Disabled Students at Universities.

And I, DeafBlind, have to recommend core textbooks which are only available
in print and not available to me.

I also worked on the UK's push to patient access to their own health

Our British Medical Association (our medical union) blocked records with
phrases translated for clearer understanding.

Issue here is: if 'professional', do we use the format of the profession?

If for the 'public', do we make adjustments to suit as many as poss?

VV best,

-----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth J. Pyatt [mailto:ejp10@psu.edu] 
Sent: 18 September 2015 19:37
To: Tobias Bengfort
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

For me, the issue of the "plain" or "simple" subtag versus a regional or
dialectal subtag is that there is not the same kind of systematic definition
of what it "plain" is. For instance one can distinguish en-GB (Great
Britain) vs. en-US by looking a spelling variations (e.g. color vs colour)
and minor grammatical difference (e.g. Duran Duran are touring (GB) vs. is
touring (US)).

The definitions for plain language seem to involve more ad hoc judgements
almost amounting to "You'll know it when you see it."

There are scoring mechanisms like Flesch and Flesch-Kincaid which rely on
word and syllable count, but I believe you can still write a sentence which
would pass the test, but still not be "plain language", meaning that an
average adult would not understand it.

Here's one from linguistics.
"High lax vowels are rare in world languages. The three most found vowels
are: high tense front unrounded, high back rounded and low central."

That doesn't mean that there couldn't be a plain language subtag, but the
definition would need to be carefully crafted. In fact I would say it would
be EASIER to define what something like "-legal" (language used specifically
in legal documents) and -"med" (language specifically used in the medical


> On Sep 18, 2015, at 1:34 PM, Tobias Bengfort <tobias.bengfort@posteo.de>
> Hi,
> On 17/09/15 23:03, Jim Tobias wrote:
>> For now we can only rely on what authors do both in terms of
>> addressing the cognitive skills and needs of as wide a user base as
>> possible (given the purpose of the author's effort) and in terms of
>> giving users some choices. They know or should know their audience
>> and the domain so why not focus on assistance to authors? Giving them
>> markup and an explanation is eminently feasible.
> As an author my impression is that markup is missing for this topic. For
> example, I currently work on a website where there should be "simple
> translations" of content. I do not know how to semantically encode this
> relation.
> My approach was to treat this as just another translation which lead me
> to the question which language tag I should use for it. So I contacted
> ietf-languages@iana.org and started a discussion there.
> I understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so my idea was
> to register a "-simple" subtag as a first step that can later be
> complemented with more specific subtags. Do you think I should continue
> with this effort? Would this improve the current situation? Or should
> there first be more discussion?
> tobias

Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
ejp10@psu.edu, (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building  (formerly Rider II)
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA   16801-4819
Received on Friday, 18 September 2015 20:17:38 UTC

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