On Mon, Aug 14, 2006 at 01:19:29PM +0930, Clytie Siddall wrote:
> >>As a linguist, I am aware that incorrect forms of words can be
> >>variants in some use.
> >As a linguist, I and 200 million of my native English-speaking
> Steve, I am a native speaker of English, and I lecture in English.
> Otherwise I would not make recommendations on English.
That's fine, according to wikipedia I left you several hundred other million
native English speakers that you can use for other arbitrary appeals to
authority if you'd like. >:)
> >reject your claim of authority over what constitutes the "correct"
> >of a loan word whose source form includes diacritics not present in
> According to the dictionary you quoted, "voila" is only a variant of
> the primary form "voilà". Primary forms are preferred over variants.
If they were universally preferred, the variants would not exist. Your
claim was that the primary form was "correct", and the others are
"incorrect"; I think this is presumptuous and unsupported by common usage.
> >>or not using it at all.
> >Which would be a fair recommendation, but such an interdiction
> >doesn't carry
> >much weight if you don't have consensus on the question of what is
> >or isn't
> >an acceptably correct form.
> I'm agreeing with your dictionary quotation.
No, you're claiming that variant spellings are wrong. I think this is the
first time I've ever seen someone claim a word's presence in a dictionary is
*evidence* that it's incorrect...
> It would only waste time if we compared different dictonaries and got into
> research papers.
Yes, it would.
> >Quite frankly, I consider that the translators' problem, not the
> >maintainers'. It is quite reasonable to constrain source English
> >with style rules concerning consistent use of vocab, forms of
> >address, and
> >UI references because these are rules that benefit the primary
> >audience of
> >the string: the user. Subsetting the language for the benefit of
> >translators, OTOH, is a misoptimization which impoverishes the user
> >experience and deprives the translators themselves of opportunities
> I don't think making translators look up variants of loan words is
> useful. In my experience of translation projects, loan words in
> general are often misunderstood, causing an incorrect translation.
> The GNOME developer's choice to spell "né" as "ne" confused nearly
> all the translators, and wasn't recognized even by the French
Er, this isn't at all analogous. The *feminine* form "née"/"nee" exists in
English, because it's used to denote the maiden name of married women --
since there is no tradition in the English speaking world of men changing
their surnames, there is no corresponding masculine form in common use.
This makes "ne" a misspelling (of either the English or the French, take
your pick), not a variant, whereas it's easy to find "nee" with or without
accent in an English dictionary.
Oh, entertainingly, m-w.com does list "né", but unlike for "née" and
"voilà", it doesn't recognize an accentless variant. <shrug> While I might
get it into my own head to be clever enough to use a masculine form in
English, I wouldn't rely on an English dictionary to support such a usage
anyway. For that matter, I don't really care very much for m-w.com as a
dictionary, but that's beside the point -- namely, that there is not Debian
standard dictionary for English and you're not likely to get one when there
are hundreds or thousands of native speakers involved in the project who
each have their own local language preferences. Yes, we should avoid
unrecognizable spellings that are incomprehensible to translators, but do
you really think any translator is going to have trouble finding "voila" in
Steve Langasek Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer to set it on, and I can move the world.