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Re: A language by any other name

On Wed, 26 Sep 2001, Bill Wohler wrote:

>   I think English should be an alias for en_US.

Of course you do; you're /from/ the US.

>   Having the English think that British English is the lingua franca of
>   the computing world is the same as the French thinking that French
>   is the lingua franca of the world. It's only wishful thinking.

And believing that not just English, but /American/ English is somehow
universal is the sort of arrogance typical of the provincial mindset for which
Americans are notorious.

>   Note that SAP is one of many computing companies who have
>   standardized on American English. They have folks from *Great
>   Britain* translating the German into American English.

And as a corporation, they're free to slight as many people as they want if it
leads to higher profits.[1]

But Debian is built on consensus, not on profit margins.  We already have a
consensus that there can never be a consensus on pointing 'English' to any
particular regional variant of the language, because there is no single
"right" answer to the question of which one is English.

>   Similarly, I wish that Debian required that documentation and output
>   appear in American English as well. Inconsistent styles reduces the
>   professional feel of the product.

I observe here, wryly, that a larger percentage of work done on Debian,
including documentation work, is done by non-native speakers of English than
is done by native speakers of British English.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

[1] And British translators translating German text to American English is a
testament only to the intellectual prowess of the British translators, not to
the natural superiority of the American tongue.

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