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Links 1 through 10 of 6106 4 Syllables's Bookmarks

A study released last week by the UK Children’s Commissioner reports not only do people under the age of 18 spend up to (just?) 20 hours a week online, but that they also don’t understand the majority of the terms’ of use of the apps they use. Concerned by this, the organization asked a law firm to help solve the problem.

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All phrases were matched for length and familiarity, yet the students took longer to associate an idiomatic phrase with a linked word than to associate a literal phrase with its linked word. This suggests that idioms are more difficult to understand and denote superior levels of language use and processing.

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Change is hard. And plain English reform seems harder than most. To help us tackle the task, it’s worth reviewing the reasons people offer for retaining a traditional style.

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Consider a good readability score as a necessary but insufficient condition for clear communication. If your plain English strategy starts and ends with readability, you are setting yourself up to fail.

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A plain English editor can help you map your readers and select the right strategies to balance their needs. If you already have a draft, your editor will assess it against research-based standards. High-volume documents, such as forms or websites, may need more extensive evaluation through surveys, focus groups or usability testing.

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Readers can understand short, simple text content on mobile devices just as well as on computers, but they slow down when reading difficult text on mobile.

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In its largest ever study, VisibleThread identifies that 99% of university and college websites do not meet target readability standards

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An online criminal courts system must be accompanied by guidance written in ‘plain English’ so that defendants clearly understand the consequences of their pleas, a thinktank has said in response to the Ministry of Justice and judiciary’s £1bn vision paper.

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NSW's state consumer court will ditch a “bewildering array” of legal terms, forms and procedures to make it easier for people to put forward their cases and be heard.

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As an academic, I agree with Harvard’s Steven Pinker that the transmission of knowledge would benefit greatly from trading “academese” for plain English. -

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