Another attempt at plain language

Tobias Bengfort tobias.bengfort at
Thu Sep 3 01:46:10 CEST 2015

On 02/09/15 18:15, Doug Ewell wrote:
> 2. "plain" English and "plain" German and "plain" Lavatbura-Lamusong 
> are fundamentally different languages, and variants that work across 
> languages usually require better commonality than this.

I think it would be relatively simple to register a variant `de-leicht`
for "leichtes Deutsch". There is a more or less formal definition[1] and
it is clearly distinct from `de`.

However, this would not help much. As my background is web content
accessibility, my goal is to have a way to say "this page is suited for
people who have issues understanding this language". This may include
children, people who find it hard to learn or read, or people who just
started learning the language.

For example, an english website could include the following link:

    <link href="..." hreflang="en-plain" rel="alternate" />

It would reference a HTML document with the same content as the current
one, but translated to a simpler, more accessible english. This could be
a way to comply with WCAG[2].

If there is a special variant for each kind of plain (or simple)
language, I don't see that assistive technologies or search engines will
go through the trouble of implementing all of them. But if there is a
single subtag `plain` that signifies the intend of providing a more
accessible language, I think this becomes much more likely.

If I am not mistaken, `leicht` could then be registered as a variant
prefixed with `de-plain`.

I understand that there currently is no variant like what I propose in
the registry. However, I do see a need for it. What are the alternatives?



More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list