Erişilebilirlik için Yalın TürkçeMine Güven
Bu çalışmada, eğitim ve kitle iletişim ortamından rastgele seçilmiş yazılı ve sözlü metinler okunabilirlik açısından karşılaştırılarak erişilebilir Türkçe metinlerin temel özellikleri saptanmaya çalışılmıştır. Kamuya sunulan bilgilendirici metinlerin, evrensel tasarım çerçevesinde, yalın bir Türkçeyle üretilmesinin herkes için daha fazla dilsel erişilebilirlik sağlayabileceği savunulmuştur. Toplam 20.254 sözcük/138.870 karakter/1.683 birimden oluşan veri tabanındaki metinler, sunulma ortamı ve kipe göre dört kümede toplanmıştır: (i) Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı (8.-12. sınıf) Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı kitapları; (ii) TRTHaber’den 45 adet çevrimiçi haber; (iii) TRT EBA TV dersleri (7.-12. sınıf) ve (iv) TV tartışma programları (4 kadın/4 erkek konuk). Okunurluk düzeyi bakımından, MEB TDE kitapları ve haber metinleri orta güçlükte; EBA dersleri ve tartışma programlarıysa kolay metinlerdir. Veri tabanının tamamında, ortalama tümce uzunluğu 12,03 sözcük; ortalama sözcük uzunluğu 6,86 karakter olarak hesaplanmıştır. Nitel çözümleme bulgularına dayanılarak, daha erişilebilir Türkçe metinler için şu noktalara dikkat edilmesi önerilebilir: (i) sözcük düzeyi: kısa ve sık kullanılan sözcükler; tutarlı ve açıklamalı terimler; düzanlamlılık; (ii) tümce düzeyi: dolaysız anlatım; daha az yantümce ve edilgen yapı içeren, kısa tümceler; (iii) metin/söylem düzeyi: çokkipli artıklık; bilgi içeriğinin küçük parçalara bölünerek, zamansal ve mantıksal bir sıralama içinde sunulduğu, bağdaşıklığı yüksek, konuşma dilini yansıtan metinler.
Plain Turkish for AccessibilityMine Güven
This paper aims to determine the essential features of accessible Turkish texts by comparing readability across various written and oral texts that were randomly selected from educational settings and mass media. It is argued that more linguistic accessibility for everyone can be achieved by producing written and oral informative texts presented in the public domain in plain Turkish, in accordance with universal design. Consisting of a total of 20,254 words/138,870 characters/1,683 units, the texts in the database were classified into four groups based on medium and mode: (i) Turkish language and literature textbooks (8th–12th grade) of the Ministry of Education; (ii) 45 news items from TRTHaber online; (iii) video lectures broadcast on TRT EBA TV (7th–12th grade); and (iv) television debates (four female and four male guests). The textbooks and news items were of average difficulty, while the video lectures and debates were easy with respect to readability. The average sentence length was 12.03 words; the average word length was 6.86 characters, as calculated in the database. In order to increase the accessibility of Turkish texts, the following are suggested by the findings of the qualitative analysis: (i) at the lexical level: short and frequent words; consistent terms with explanations; words used in their denotative meaning; (ii) at the sentence level: direct speech; short sentences containing fewer embedded clauses and passive structures; (iii) at the text/discourse level: multimodal redundancy; highly coherent texts in conversational style, where small chunks of information are presented in chronological and logical order.
Accessibility is one of the general principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 3 (f)) and includes not only signage in public areas (Article 9 (2/d)) but also access to information (Article 9 (2/f)), and to new information and communications technologies and systems (Article 9 (2/g)). States Parties are required to take all necessary measures to enable persons with disabilities to access information (Article 21) and education (Article 24), through all appropriate modes, means, and formats of communication, including plain language (Article 2).
This paper aims to determine the essential features of accessible Turkish texts by comparing readability across various written and oral texts that were randomly selected from educational settings and mass media. It is argued that more linguistic accessibility for everyone can be achieved by producing written and oral informative texts presented in the public domain, in plain Turkish, in accordance with universal design (Article 2).
Following the Plain English movement in the USA during the 1970s, many countries (e.g., Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, and the UK) have given priority to the use of plain language in informative texts in the public domain for the benefit of their citizens, including those with reading difficulties due to dyslexia, aphasia, autism spectrum disorder, low levels of literacy, low vision, etc. As for Turkiye, the Accessibility Guidelines prepared by the Ministry of Family and Social Services includes only a number of suggestions concerning signage in public areas.
Consisting of a total of 20,254 words/138,870 characters/1,683 units, the texts in the database were classified into four groups based on medium and mode: (i) Turkish language and literature textbooks (8th–12th grade) of the Ministry of Education; (ii) 45 news items from TRTHaber online; (iii) video lectures broadcast on TRT EBA TV (7th–12th grade), and (iv) television debates (four female and four male guests). The Flesch Reading Ease, formerly adapted for Turkish, was further adapted on the basis of the number of characters rather than that of syllables. With respect to readability, the textbooks (mean average 51.17) and news items (mean average 53.02) seem to be of average difficulty, while the video lectures (mean average 72.04) and debates (mean average 74.25) are easy. The average sentence length is 12.03 words, while the average word length is 6.86 characters in the entire database.
Findings of the qualitative data analysis suggest the following for creating more accessible texts in Turkish:
At the lexical level, we should prefer short and frequent words, consistent terms with explanations, and use words in their denotative meaning. We should avoid foreign words, abbreviations, professional jargon, and semantic ambiguity. Texts may differ in terms of lexical variety and lexical density, depending on factors such as style, field of expertise, language of instruction, etc.
At the sentence level, we should prefer direct speech and short sentences containing fewer embedded clauses and passive structures. Verbatim reporting of speech in interviews seems to increase syntactic complexity (e.g., the number of noun clauses). Comprehension problems may occur due to ellipsis, scrambling, implicit (subject and object) noun phrases, and lack of access to prosodic information in written texts. Infelicity or ungrammaticality may arise due to long and complex structures uttered as part of spontaneous speech.
At the text/discourse level, we should prefer highly coherent and cohesive texts that present small chunks of information in chronological and logical order. Experienced teachers seem to have applied a number of techniques for better (distance) learning, such as adopting a conversational style, introducing terms with explanations, asking themselves relevant questions and answering them clearly, making a review of formerly covered subjects, and so on. Multimodal redundancy, as in the case of verbal content being simultaneously presented through the acoustic and visual channels, may also enhance comprehension.
Provided that automatic text simplification tools with sufficiently high performance in Turkish are developed in the near future, such tools may function as “reasonable accommodation” (Article 2) in adapting complex texts for various target groups, including those with reading difficulties. However, for the time being, producing informative public texts in plain Turkish in accordance with universal design seems to be the optimal way to reach the largest possible audience and empower those with reading difficulties.