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Re: RFR: package mozilla-pwdhash description

Chris Bannister wrote:
> Ben Finney wrote:
>> Hyphenation, to show the more-tightly bound relationship between some
>> words used in a phrasal modifier, seems a clarity-seeking practice
>> rather than a dumbing down.
> What isn't clear about "clarity seeking practice" where it needs a
> hyphen? 

"A clarity seeking practice" is syntactically ambiguous - it might
be parallel to "a celebrity seeking justice".  Obviously, the
meanings of the words usually disambiguate such phrases (except in
rare cases like "a man eating fish"), but with a hyphen the
ambiguity isn't there in the first place. 
> I understand that English is an evolving/living language, but I've
> always thought that hyphenation was used sparingly; for example in
> splitting words. 

Hyphenation is a matter of mere punctuation.  The English language
is "living" because it's a spoken language with a native-speaker
community; there's no point trying to coerce it into evolving in any
particular direction.  But its writing system is a separate thing -
an artificial standard maintained by style guides and English

This means there's some point debating how punctuation and spelling
_should_ be... though I should warn you that turning English
orthography into something that stood up to rational criticism is a
goal that's probably unachievable within our lifetimes. 

> Although, I have reason to suspect it is an American practice which has
> spread in the same way that "the letter 'z' replacing the letter 's'"
> has spread.

"Ization" is the standard recommended by the OED, and was common in
nineteenth-century Britain, but for some reason it became less
popular over the course of the twentieth.  The Times, for instance,
didn't switch to "isation" until the 1990s.

As it happens, US style guides seem if anything to be slightly less
keen on hyphenation than Commonwealth ones, for no very obvious
JBR	with qualifications in linguistics, experience as a Debian
	sysadmin, and probably no clue about this particular package

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