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Re: [OT] Suggestion for next Debian release

On Tue, Feb 19, 2002 at 06:44:21AM +0800, csj wrote:
> > > >> i really really don't want you to construe this as any kind of xenophobia,
> > > >> but this phrase above just doesn't work in english. i have no idea what you
> > > >> meant to convey by this.
> > > 
> > > > I admit, I'm no english man, but the sentence you fail to parse seem
> > > > clear as can be to my foreign eyes:)  Or were you just kidding?
> No need to be defensive,man. I see nothing wrong with speaking,
> writing or even reading English in a manner foreign to the dictates
> of Hollywood, the BBC or New York Times. To insist on a correct way
> to write or speak English runs contrary to the spirit of the GPL. It
> would be as if the *native* speakers imposed a EULA on the rest of
> the world that limited our rights to modify the language and
> propagate our own "ethnicized" versions, while they could casually
> say, "You ain't seen nuthin' yet" or "Hasta la vista, punk, in space
> no one can hear your scream." Language, like open source, should be a
> matter of using what works, not what some stodgy grammarian, film
> mogul or computer science lecturer says it should be.

Bullshit.  The purpose of language is communication.  The purpose of
grammar is not to dictate how thou shalt construct sentences and
paragraphs, but how to effectively communicate.  There isn't a well
repsected fiction author that hasn't internalized the grammar, before
taking liberties with it.  Using the slang above is nothing more than
violating the grammar for literary effect (minimal, and tired as it may

> > > > To me it says, that we on this list have no interest in ridiculing
> > > > anyone, and especially not someone that formulates his criticism and
> > > > suggestions in a constructive way.
> > > 
> > > As an editor I spend my life trying to understand what a writer is
> > > trying to say.  (That includes writers whose first language is not
> > > English.)
> > > 
> > > Despite decades of practice, the lines marked >>>> defeated me.  They
> > > still do.
> Anybody who has taken a few weeks of German lessons would have
> understood the original.

With considerable effort.

> > I fear that I am forced to concur.  As a native English speaker (NOT
> > American speaker ;-) I can see the sense of the translation, but when
> > reading the original have no clue what it is about.  The phrase 'and
> > here is...' can not be given the object 'nothing,' nor can it be given
> > the object 'no interest'.  Although certain idioms include such
> > phraseology as 'and here isn't the Prime Minister of England,' such
> > usage is not correct and is ambiguous and confusing.  The correct
> > phrasing of this clause is '...and there is no interest here...'
> > although the 'and' is purely there because it was in the original.  I
> > don't think it is legal to begin a paragraph with 'and.'  The use of the
> > future tense indefinite 'and would formulate' is also somewhat skewed
> > from the probable intention of the phrase; it implies that we are
> > talking about someone who would even consider doing so, which I don't
> > think is the intent of the writer.  The position of 'constructively,'
> > although avoiding the split infinitive of 'to constructively formulate,'
> > is nonetheless somewhat awkward, and probably breaks some rule
> > somewhere.  It fits the rhythm of the language far more pleasingly to
> > move this word to the end of the sentence.  So, to sum up, a correct
> > phrasing might be:
> Language has meaning only within a given context. And in the context
> of this forum, "And here is" makes easy and perfect sense. But "That
> is a cat!" (as proper as the sentence might be) won't, because I
> don't have the reference to know if you're actually pointing to a cat
> or just a scrappy little dog. To me the only criminals are those who
> insist their Shift key is broken.

And here is a mailing list.  It is not clear what the "here" is in
the original. It apparently refers to "no interest", not the mailing
list.  It takes mental gymnastics to see that "here" doesn't refer
to thing the sentence construction indicates.

Eric G. Miller <egm2@jps.net>

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