Re: [OT Why GB English is different] Re: Mozilla firefox en-gb
Date: Tue, 04 May 2004 00:09:25 -0700
From: Paul Johnson <email@example.com>
Tim Connors <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> If someone wants to fund me a time-machine, I will be very happy to
>> back and eliminate the problem - namely bloody Webster.
> American English spelling is bloody retarded, and I'm a native
> speaker. Problem is American English borrows from so many
> we have a real mutt of a language.
This seems as good a place as any to observe that English is
emphatically open source.
No one owns English. No dictatorial authority sets rules of
usage, & no one who tries can enforce a decree. What works --
I've spent most of a lifetime in the word business, working as an
editor to enforce rules found in dictionaries, stylebooks, & grammar
texts. Thus I've learned (with some professional dismay) that
neither rules nor regulators can do much about the language; an
editor's influence is extremely local & limited in both time &
Burn the dictionaries; kill the `grim grammarians in their golden
gowns'; ban stylebooks. Almost no one would notice. People would
go right on using their language just as they always have -- every
user a developer.
Of course we live & work locally & in a brief time span, &
dictionaries etc (I have about 40 right at hand) make immediate
communication more efficient & help assure backward compatibility.
Language tools are like man pages, useful if imperfect & limited.
Over in Redmond, billg would dislike the implications. Linus &
Linux are following the inevitable course of natural language, & the
distributed development of English foreshadows his doom.