Doing a repair for one of my partially sighted customers today, so here's your semi-regular to ask yourself if if your website supports high-contrast mode and do your social media posts and images online have captions? Are your display name and posts screen reader friendly? They're all small straightforward things that can be the difference between being inclusive or exclusive x

Also, if you post videos, are they captioned/subtitled for deaf users/people that struggle with accents or are unfamiliar with the language spoken orally/people that prefer to watch things on mute while they listen to something else? x

A quick note on the accent thing on this toot though, you know when TV programmes add subtitles directly into the feed for people with a strong accent speaking the same language as everyone else in the video? Don't do that, it's gross. Let the viewer decide if they need that aid instead of saying to the audience "we think this person requires corrections on their speaking/are bad at speaking". I see it a lot for example with African people in documentaries and it irritates the shit out of me


Accents should be celebrated and let to thrive ofc, I get sick of people saying "Not being racist but I couldn't understand their accent, they were from India or something" or whatever. Like fuck off, you'd understand them better if you didn't spend your whole life avoiding these people, I understand what they're saying just fine? If you're new to a language then fair play, stick the subtitles on because it will help, but if it's your first language being spoken try harder damn it

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English dialects and accents are so vastly diverse, and none of them are "correct", "proper" or "good", putting subtitles into media only for specific accents is so chastising. Mini-rant over, anyway. As you were

@Shrigglepuss In linguistics instead of dialect and accent we use the term "variety", as those are generally more based in sociopolitics than in the linguistic reality. It's a term that equalises both standard and nonstandard forms as it doesn't take any form as central, defining others as diverging from it. E.g. English is an abstract term for the whole continuum of English varieties.

Very different varieties construed as to belong to same continua might be mutually unintelligible in case

@Shrigglepuss the speaker of one has not been exposed to the other variety. I don't know of such cases in English, but e.g. varieties of Italian can be way less mutually intelligible than say Standard Spanish and Standard Italian are so. In these situations subtitling in a locally widespread variety by default would be useful, as television can not be trivially rewinded (tho of course the practice might be intentionally derogatory depending on which varieties are being translated to / from).

@Shrigglepuss this is all so spot on! I think certain people enter a sort of "time to panic" mode when they notice an accent that doesn't match the English variety they speak. I've been living in the UK for a decade and I believe I'm fluent in English by now, but I still get funny looks by some britons as soon as they realise I'm not a native speaker of (often they local and very strict variety of) English

@pizzabox You described it well as a panic, some people just fully shut down at the thought of having to pay a little more attention with an unfamiliar accent don't they?

@Shrigglepuss exactly. I guess it is (in part) also what leads to the production of American remakes of British tv series of movies (or vice versa, even though that doesn't happen as often). unless they do something radically different from the original I can't stand it, it's the same language!

@Shrigglepuss sometimes it's not even from that far away, did you see mister london "antipodean background" tory guy? english wanker who can't understand a scottish chap, getting him to repeat himself a few times in parliament rather than learning how people speak on the same bloody island as what you come from :pain:

@pfx I just re-watched it and understood what he was saying. You'd think an MP should know how to listen and understand the voices particularly from their own bleak isles, but alas

@Shrigglepuss exactly, same here. i understood what was said easily enough :(

@Shrigglepuss @pfx Seems to me that that kind of person has invested in not being able to understand "the wrong kind of people".

@Shrigglepuss I've returned a udemy course because the Indian accent was so thick, even with subtitles couldn't follow it.
And the competition is large. Many people offer similar courses. When competition is easier to understand, it has a clear advantage.

So instead I bought a course on the topic from someone with a thick Danish accent.

Competition is everywhere, from YT to education, where hard to understand accents will loose. Unfortunate but obvious.

@berkes Wasn't there a preview for the course before you bought it? I feel bad for this teacher if they've had to give out refunds because people have struggled to understand their accent, I wouldn't expect them to alter their accent in order to be competitive

@Shrigglepuss I thought I would get over the accent. I could not. And I do feel bad about it.

But I still think that , in order to make a competitive course, speaking understandable to a large audience is a crucial factor.

Maybe you fellow-accent-speakers are a large enough audience though. Or you are the only one with enough expertise in a niche. But if not, an accent is probably a serious competitive disadvatage.

@Shrigglepuss also note that I'm not native English. So even without accents, I have a harder time following it.

I lived in Ireland, SA, and am exposed to Brits and US (media) enough to be familiar with those accents. But not others.

@berkes I appreciate that it would be difficult if English isn't your first language but if you viewed the preview and made a commitment to trying your best with it then asking for a refund is bit of a slap in the face to the teacher because it's less of a reflection on their ability to teach when you knew what you were going in for. The pre-purchase preview had the information "hey I have this accent". I'd personally have not asked for a refund for something that wasn't an error on their part The effects of Vergonha (the systematic destruction of regional languages and dialects in France) are still felt today. Speaking in a regional accent is often viewed as crass and trashy, and often seen as a valid reason not to take someone seriously.

Basically, policing how people speak is yet another tool of oppression.

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