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Re: latex2html license: "A Letter to Leeds University", round 2

   To: debian-legal Mailing list
       Debian Project
   Re: The recent postings on the subject of the "Re:" abbreviation

On Wed, Jan 14, 2004 at 03:02:17PM +0000, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> Roland Stigge <stigge@antcom.de>:
> > Besides, isn't "Re:" the abbrev. for "Reply"? The letter is not a reply.
> No, it's Latin, ablative singular of "res" (thing), which is also the
> first element of "res publica" and part of several Latin expressions
> used in English legal jargon.

Actually, it can be read as either the Latin (as explained
above) or as an abbreviation of "Regarding".  For comparison the
normal style of business letters in some other European
countries use abbreviations of the translation of "Regarding". 
For instance Danish letters use "Vedr. " .

In contrast, the Re: used in e-mails is an abbreviation of Reply
carefully chosen to coincide with the abbreviation used in
letters to represent "Res" or "Regarding".  Also the Re: and Fw:
abbreviations in e-mails are interpreted by computers as well as
humans, and thus cannot be translated, even if the rest of the
e-mail is in a different language.  They can be translated for
display by a localized MUA, with much better effect...

For illustration, this e-mail contains both types of Re: header,
showing the difference in semantics and usage.

Kind Regards

Jakob Bohm

This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
indicate so. Its contents may be deliberately or accidentally untrue.
Trademarks and other things belong to their owners, if any.

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