Another attempt at plain language

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Sep 15 02:18:35 CEST 2015

I have no problem with wanting to use a language tag to declare “this is a simplified variant” (relative to some other document that doesn’t have that).

But before proceeding with anything along this line, I think I’d want to see some input from linguistic experts that are dealing with this area generally — and by that, I don’t someone working just on accessibility. Content may be authored using controlled language in a variety of contexts for a variety of reasons. Rather than doing something one-off in response to someone interested in accessibility, I’d want to understand what the entire space looks like, what the various usage scenarios are, and from that whether one tag is enough, or whether there eventually need to be a set of tags with some systematic inter-relationships.


From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mark Davis ??
Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2015 8:49 AM
To: Michael Everson <everson at>
Cc: ietf-languages at; Tobias Bengfort <tobias.bengfort at>
Subject: Re: Another attempt at plain language

On Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 5:14 PM, Michael Everson <everson at<mailto:everson at>> wrote:
I don’t know. A conformance statement? In any case it doesn’t seem taggable. There are books for early readers and young adults and college students but the difference of language use in those books is not precisely defined. Nor is the WCAG’s recommendation (or requirement) without ambiguity.

As I wrote, this is overly formalistic.

If the purpose is to distinguish webpages by BCP47 language tags, it is perfectly reasonable on a site to want to distinguish between a "normal" version, and a simplified version (not only for accessibility, but also for second-language speakers).

Of the many thousands of languages that are encodeable with BCP47, almost none of them have a "precise definition". It is not productive to disallow a reasonably clear variant because it doesn't meet a standard also not met by essentially any of the primary language subtags.


— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —
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