Re: A language by any other name
On Fri, 28 Sep 2001, Marcelo E. Magallon wrote:
> >> Steve Langasek <email@example.com> writes:
> > > Which one are you going to make Spanish an alias for?
> > Hmm, hrr... well if the word used is 'Spanish', then it's safe to
> > point to es_ES, because for all intents and purposes this is what
> > that word is taken to mean in English. If the alias name is
> > 'español', you'll start to push your luck. :)
> Español means "one that comes from España" and "a romance languaje
> derived from the dialect spoken in the Kingdom of Castilla and official
> language of Spain and Latin America". I don't have any problem
> whatsoever if some file defaults to aliasing "español" to "es_ES".
> Given the current contents of locale.alias, I can reasonably assume the
> person who wrote it didn't know how to write Spanish in Spanish. But
> back to the point, this is what people have forgotten in this thread:
> it's a *default*. We are not declaring British English to be better.
> We are discussing about a *default* value for the "english" token.
> Or should I now submit a bug against locales for aliasing Spanish to
If you believe that pointing 'spanish' or 'español' to es_ES is sufficiently
confusing for a large number of users, then you could certainly file a bug.
My suggestion that 'español' could not safely be pointed to es_ES was somewhat
joking; compared with the pathologically divergent spelling rules between the
various English dialects, I find the vocabulary differences between the
various dialects of Castillian Spanish to be fairly minor and unobtrusive --
and realistically, the advantages of singling out one of the Spanish languages
as español (half a continent of people who refer to their language in this
manner) do tend to outweigh the disadvantages.
English is indeed a different kettle of fish. You cannot make everyone happy
-- or even a significant majority of English-speaking users happy -- by
pointing 'English' to any one of the particular national dialects of English.
If someone who doesn't think in ISO codes, when presented with a list of
languages they're going to choose 'English', because that's the name of their
language. But by giving people the option of choosing 'English' in an OS
that's distributed unmodified world-wide, you're going to confuse and upset
the half of the English-speaking users who live on the other side of the pond.