Success Criterion 3.1.6: Pronunciation

Understanding Success Criterion: 

A mechanism is available for identifying specific pronunciation of words where meaning of the words, in context, is ambiguous without knowing the pronunciation.

Accessibility Level: 
Intent of Success Criterion: 

The intent of this Success Criterion is to help people who are blind, people who have low vision, and people with reading disabilities to understand content in cases where meaning depends on pronunciation. Often words or characters have different meanings, each with its own pronunciation. The meaning of such words or characters can usually be determined from the context of the sentence. However, for more complex or ambiguous sentences, or for some languages, the meaning of the word cannot be easily determined or determined at all without knowing the pronunciation. When the sentence is read aloud and the screen reader reads the word using the wrong pronunciation, it can be even more difficult to understand than when read visually. When words are ambiguous or indeterminate unless the pronunciation is known, then providing some means of determining the pronunciation is needed.
For example, in the English language heteronyms are words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings, such as the words desert (abandon) and desert (arid region). If the proper pronunciation can be determined from the context of the sentence, then nothing is required. If it cannot then some mechanism for determining the proper pronunciation would be required. Additionally, in some languages certain characters can be pronounced in different ways. In Japanese, for example, there are characters like Han characters(Kanji) that have multiple pronunciations. Screen readers may speak the characters incorrectly without the information on pronunciation. When read incorrectly, the content will not make sense to users.

Specific Benefits of Success Criterion: 

This Success Criterion may help people who:

  • have difficulty decoding words
  • have difficulty using context to aid understanding
  • use technologies that read the words aloud