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Re: A language by any other name

On Thu, Sep 27, 2001 at 10:50:57PM -0500, David Starner wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 28, 2001 at 08:59:52AM +1000, Craig Sanders wrote:
> > never thought i'd see american cultural imperialism on the debian lists.
> > 
> > spelling is important - which is why i will never deliberately
> > mis-spell words just so that they are more familiar to american
> > audiences. if the reader can't cope with minor regional variations
> > in spelling then they don't deserve to read what i've written.
> "I will use my language, and any who can't understand it doesn't
> deserve to read it"? That's _very_ imperialistic.

no, it's not. i'm not forcing anyone else to use my language, i'm just
refusing to adopt someone else's language. that's the difference.

i don't write in german or french or sanskrit (although i can make
myself vaguely understood in hindi and sometimes wish that english used
a beautiful script like devanagari rather than ugly roman letters) - is
it somehow "_very_ imperialistic" that i choose to write in my native
language rather than some other language?

anyone who wants to read what i've written has to be able to read
the language i've written it in. i write in english (australian unix
geek dialect - meaning, e.g., that various words like "colour" and
"neighbour" have the letter "u" in them; i use "s" where many americans
would use "z"; i spell "connections" correctly whereas americans might
spell it "connexions"; "light" and "night" are spelt with "ight", not
"ite"; and i typically only use capitals for emphasis or acronyms).

> > >   therefore the alias for English should be en_US.
> >
> > en_GB is more appropriate - it is, after all, the home of the
> > english language.
> So French, Spanish and Portugese should be fr_IT, es_IT and pt_IT,
> because, of course, Italy is the original home of all the Romance
> languages?

if french and spanish were actually dialects of italian, then probably.
but they're not, so it's a moot point. all three are distant derivatives
of latin, not derivatives of italian. portugese is different enough that
it really shouldn't be lumped in with french, spanish, or italian.

a closer analogy is spanish as spoken in spain, and spanish as spoken
in mexico. i don't think anyone would deny that spain's spanish is the
original aka "real" version and south american versions of spanish are

> You know, this whole thing is really pointless. Just because English
> is a language like most others and has more than one dialect, doesn't
> mean that one is suddenly "the" English and some other isn't. That's
> not the way languages work. Fix gdm, realize that adding an English
> alias would be pointless and controversal, and let the thread die.

british english IS "the" english. derivatives may be based on it, but
aren't actually the real english - and that includes american english,
canadian english, and australian english (amongst others).


craig sanders <cas@taz.net.au>

Fabricati Diem, PVNC.
 -- motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch

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