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RE: simple language testable thing

From: lisa seeman <seeman@netvision.net.il>
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2004 14:35:42 +0200
To: 'Charles McCathieNevile' <charles@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-id: <000201c3ee40$18a092c0$340aa8c0@patirsrv.patir.com>

Thinking about  Charles and Jens emails..

In principal yes, I would love to see the whole thing with learning
disabilities/ simple Language set up with a good  road map, working up
from user cases up.

On the other hand this one is simple. Someone with a learning disability
such as many forms of dyslexia are extremely challenged when learning
new alphabet/ languages. The challenge is not comparable to the barriers
faced by non disabled people.

For example I took French lessons an hour a day for two years, I really
wanted to learn French and worked harder at it then in any other
subject. After two years and a lot of hard work I scored 12% in the
exam. I was quite please with that, but then my French teacher suggested
that I spend my French periods in the library doing homework for other
subjects.....So now, quite a few years late I was reading The Professor
by Charlotte Bronte over the weekend, but I missed out the bits in

The situation is much worse when a new alphabet is required. In Israel
the only children over age 8 who do not have to study English are
learning disabled. So the vast majority of people who can not understand
or recognize the splattering of English words on Hebrew sites are
disabled. On the other hand I challenge you to find many sites (not
specializing in word games) that should not consider me in their target

However when a designer is thinking about their target audience they
tend to forget people with disabilities. So a Hebrew web designer will
assume that their audience completed school and can read English.  They
may also assume their audience is using are using a monitor - both
assumptions are basically true _except_ for the disabled populations in
their target audience. That is why we have these guidelines. 

This is clearly a disability issue. The fact that it helps other people
does not change that.

Adding a title (containing a translation) to the span (that is already
required by 3.1) is not restricting free speech and will help people
with disabilities access the material on the web.

I fail to see why this is controversial. It is a simple case of using
markup in such a way as to help people with disabilities access web

Other issues, such as defining when is a word in a different language,
are the same as checkpoint 3.1 (marking up different languages in web

All the best
Lisa Seeman
Visit us at the UB Access website
UB Access - Moving internet accessibility

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org] 
> Sent: Friday, February 06, 2004 5:22 AM
> To: Jens Meiert
> Cc: mikba@microsoft.com; seeman@netvision.net.il; 
> y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> Subject: RE: simple language testable thing
> On Thu, 5 Feb 2004, Jens Meiert wrote:
> >> [...] that "bon mot" is an english phrase in the
> >> rich english of literature (or the literary english of the rich, 
> >> perhaps).
> >
> >Sorry, but hear ye! And hence, foreign language use is okay? Sounds 
> >like there are double standards applied; I think there must be a 
> >precise statement first, otherwise, we're all just spinning around.
> >
> >> But it isn't simple vocabulary one can expect of everyone.
> >
> >Is there any vocabulary you can? Ain't it in the nature of language, 
> >that there are blendings, differences, growth etc.? If I'd 
> be asked to 
> >use the vocabulary all my friends or colleagues do, I simply 
> wouldn't 
> >know.
> What if we asked you to find a glossary of terms they do know 
> (say, your old illustrated primary school dictionary) and 
> another one, with words you use, that links to explanations 
> which only use the words that are in teh primary school dictionary?
> >> I think the solution technique is the same as for complex 
> vocabulary 
> >> [...]
> >>
> >> ... use of a foreign <a href="http://example.com/k-7glossary?
> >> bon_mot">bon mot</a>, even though...
> >
> >That nips all more or less sophisticated writing in the bud, 
> ain't it? 
> >[...]
> If you mean "a presentation relying on sophistry to carry an 
> air of authority", I am not sure that's a bad thing. But I 
> don't think that is actually the case. A lot of clever 
> advertising isn't actually based on complex ideas.
> I also don't think it has much impact on whether complex and 
> powerful ideas can be explained. But some of us, who write 
> too much long-winded and complex text, will have to think 
> about how to write clearly.
> And as I pointed out to Mike, WAI doesn't ban anything. It 
> merely points out that some stuff is inaccessible.  I am not 
> a fan of "Blue Poles" - once purchased by the Australian 
> government as the most expensive painting ever, to a large 
> outcry at the time and to plaudits later. I don't think it's 
> terribly interesting. Nor accessible. But I don't see it 
> being banned for that.
> On the other hand, in a battlefield situation I want to be 
> certain that the person at the end of the chain of command 
> understands, whatever their known, hidden, or newly-acquired 
> disability. I don't see any reason to stop people being 
> engineers, nor even put big difficulties in their way, if 
> they are capable engineers but struggle with Shakespeare. 
> Language used for clear and successful comunication in the 
> modern world is generally different from language used for 
> artistic expression (although there is obviously plenty of 
> overlap). This is not new, is not restricted to english and 
> is difficult to pin down.
> I get upset when my colleagues who are not native english 
> speakers assert that english is a "artistically poor and 
> restricted language, but good for technical stuff", based on 
> their experience of groups of non-native speakers with 
> different backgrounds and different levels of skill searching 
> of a common communications mechanism at conferences and 
> meetings. The english I grew up with is extremely rich in 
> expression, but often not very precise - a bit like the 
> mixture of latin and its vernacular cousins (now known as 
> french, romanian, spanish, catalan, italian, and so on) was a 
> few centuries ago, when it had a similar role.
> >> ... use of a foreign <ruby class="coolGloss"><rb>bon mot</rb> 
> >> <rt>clever word or two</rt></ruby>, even though...
> >
> >CMIIW, but this is abuse of Ruby markup. -- Theoretically and to be 
> >constructive, you could better use markup like
> I haven't thought really hard about the actual result markup. 
> I don't think it is an abuse of ruby, looking at the examples 
> in the specification, but I don't claim my example was of 
> perfect result markup. It ws just to illustrate an idea about 
> how all this discussion could actually have a result people can use...
> >> [...] lots of literature is not accessible to everyone who 
> speaks the 
> >> base language it was written in. Which strikes me as 
> uncontroversial.
> >
> >Agreed, but it's written in its base language, ain't it? -- Last but 
> >not least, and to summarize the main issues:
> >
> >- Is this really an important issue in WAI terms [1]?
> >- What wording has to be explained, where ain't an 
> explanation needed?
> >- What way(s) of semantic highlighting should be recommended?
> >
> >If these questions (of course and above all, the first) are 
> answered, 
> >there should be a general discussion on it, not yet.
> I think I agree with AL there - there are grounds for this 
> discussion being treated seriously as an issue in improving 
> accessibility, and it is hard to define a stop point or 
> minimal set of vocabulary (and language constructions). That 
> would need some thoughtful discussion and probably some more 
> collective thought.
> By "ways of semantic highlighting", I am assuming you mean 
> "what should the available results look and feel like?" (I 
> might have misunderstood your term). We don't seem to agree 
> on the role of ruby markup. There are various discussions on 
> this idea in this group, other groups around W3C, work on 
> thesauri, projects putting this stuff into practice. Again, I 
> don't think we can declare consensus on any answer yet, but I 
> think we have the basis for useful discussion.
> Cheers
> Chaals
Received on Sunday, 8 February 2004 07:38:13 UTC

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