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Re: Proposed ballot for the constitutional amendment

On Tue, 14 Oct 2003 07:42:32 +0100, Oliver Elphick <olly@lfix.co.uk> said: 

> On Mon, 2003-10-13 at 23:02, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> On Mon, 13 Oct 2003 22:44:28 +0100, Oliver Elphick
>> <olly@lfix.co.uk> said:

>> > Nevertheless, that use of "shall" is so strange that I had to
>> > read the sentence twice to understand it.  It is not correct
>> > English.
>> So you say. I beg to differ.

> Manoj, you say you were taught English - I infer that it is not your
> native language.  It is mine.  Furthermore, my father taught English
> and I was at a good school while grammar was still being taught.

	I find that has little to recommend as a metric of fluency and
 command of the language; I have lived for the last decade and a half
 in university towns, where I have seen the absolute ignorance of the
 rules of grammar and lately, the ability to construct a grammatical
 sentence by native speakers of the language.  Picking up a language
 haphazardly when a child often does not compare to being taught the
 language well.

	Additionally, I have observed that native speakers have
 discarded the distinction between shall and will, and never learned
 the rules governing the different usage, so one can very seldom trust
 the gut of the native speakers when it comes to fine points of
 usage. Perhaps the language is evolving to the point that these
 distinctions have become moot.

>> (You should really examine the sentence you quote -- that it being
>> the speaker's intent, not the subject's, and that the third person
>> form was used).

> I did examine it.

>> > The sentence does not fit the grammatical rule you quote, because
>> > a voting mechanism is incapable of having or expressing an
>> > intention or purpose.  It is just a thing, and you are merely
>> > describing how it will behave, therefore the proper word to use
>> > is "will".

> I see that I gave a misleading description of the rule.  The
> speaker's intent can indeed mandate the use of shall for the second
> and third person.  However, that does not apply here, unless you
> wish to convey a very unexpected meaning.

	I have used the word consideredly, so look to what I did say,
 not what you imagine  I must be saying.

>         "Do _NOT_ encrypt your ballot; the voting mechanism shall
>         not be able to decrypt your message."

> is to warn people that the mechanism cannot cope with encrypted
> messages.  The sentence actually expresses your determination to
> prevent its having that capability, which is a very unexpected
> meaning.  Perhaps that is what you mean.

	*Sigh*. As I said before, I meant what I said.

> Of course the original meaning of "will" is to express intention,
> and you may still say, "He wills to do so and so" to express
> someone's intention.  But that is not the same as the normal future
> tense in the second and third person.  That is, of course, the whole
> point of this grammatical rule.

	And you continue to belabor the obvious.

>> In any case, this is no longer open to debate.

> It's your document.  However, since many non-English speakers read
> this and may be guided by it, misinformation should not go
> unchallenged.  There are no doubt many native English speakers who
> need to learn it too.

	Misinformation?  Has imprecision of usage become so
 commonplace that didactic phraseology is construed to be
 misinformation?  If people do not understand what "shall" means in
 context, then they have worse problems than understanding the ballot
 when it comes to reading the constitution.

YOU!!  Give me the CUTEST, PINKEST, most charming little VICTORIAN
DOLLHOUSE you can find!!  An make it SNAPPY!!
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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