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


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!

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