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Re: [OT Why GB English is different] Re: Mozilla firefox en-gb

Date: Tue, 04 May 2004 00:09:25 -0700
From: Paul Johnson <baloo@ursine.ca>

Tim Connors <tconnors+linuxdebianuser1083636621@astro.swin.edu.au> 
>> 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.

Wendell Cochran
West Seattle

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