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RE: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

From: Jim Tobias <tobias@inclusive.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 21:03:15 +0000
To: "howard_leicester@btconnect.com" <howard_leicester@btconnect.com>, "'Elizabeth J. Pyatt'" <ejp10@psu.edu>, 'Tobias Bengfort' <tobias.bengfort@posteo.de>
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BY2PR01MB540F5EC66B3B1DD27FD3A81C3590@BY2PR01MB540.prod.exchangelabs.com>
Very interesting! The essentially sociopolitical nature of anything having to do with language...

In a perfect world all information would be available in the most effectively personalized form -- each 'reader' is different but equally well served. As we creep towards that I believe that awareness and tools for authors is a better strategy rather than aiming right for a comprehensive purely technological solution. So there would be a 'professional' version of the journal article and a 'simplified/public' version. If the author is involved in producing both he/she may find that there is a lot of potential overlap and that even professionals are aided by a degree of simplification.

Just to add another note -- here in the US movie studios fought against captioning arguing that it was 'forced speech' and inconsistent with the artistic vision. Imagine how copyright holders will freak out about actual changes to the content for simplification.

Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
+1.908.907.2387 v/sms
skype jimtobias

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Howard Leicester [mailto:howard_leicester@btconnect.com]
> Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 4:17 PM
> To: 'Elizabeth J. Pyatt' <ejp10@psu.edu>; 'Tobias Bengfort' <tobias.bengfort@posteo.de>
> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: RE: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag
> 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
> records.
> 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,
> Howard
> -----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."
> http://plainlanguagenetwork.org/plain-language/what-is-plain-language/
> 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
> profession).
> Elizabeth
> > On Sep 18, 2015, at 1:34 PM, Tobias Bengfort <tobias.bengfort@posteo.de>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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
> http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu
> http://tlt.psu.edu
Received on Friday, 18 September 2015 21:03:48 UTC

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