Subject: Re: CVS commit: src/dist/am-utils/fsinfo
To: None <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: current-users
Date: 04/08/2003 19:58:46
[ On Tuesday, April 8, 2003 at 15:34:54 (-0700), John Nemeth wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: CVS commit: src/dist/am-utils/fsinfo
> On Aug 29,  4:52am, "Perry E. Metzger" wrote:
> } (John Nemeth) writes:
> } > } co-ordinate -> coordinate, etc. Igor Sobrado, PR misc/19813
> } > 
> } >      Actually, the first is correct.
> } 
> } The Merriam Webster Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary
> } both disagree with you. I tend to believe them.
>       The Gage Canadian Dictionary lists it with the "-" and has the
> version without the "-" as an alternative spelling, so I suppose it
> could be one of those silly Americanisms.

Well, no, it's not exactly an Americanism.  You see the same alternative
forms in lots of dictionaries, including the ITP Neslon Canadian
Dictionary and the OED itself.

As I wrote back in January in my reply to PR#19907 recarding "co-operate":

[[...]]  Both forms are acceptable, and as far as I know it's not
even a regional thing -- at least not according to my "little"
Oxford English Reference Dictionary.  All of the Latin derrivative words
which are formed with the Latin "co-" (with, together) prefix may be
written with the hyphen.

Since then I've found some more background and advice:

"The Columbia Guide to Standard American English" (Kenneth G. Wilson)

   When the prefix of a word ends with the same vowel letter that begins
   the following root word, the new word will sometimes-but not always
   be hyphenated:  semi-independent, reengage, reenlist.  But many of
   these are in divided usage:  cooperate/co-operate, preempt/pre-empt.


I don't have a recent copy of Fowler's "The King's English" to compare
what it might have to say on this topic, though from the older editions
I find on the web I gather it has a great deal to say about hyphens but
rather less to say about "co-".  <URL:>

I would guess the trend in English to remove extra characters like these
hyphens for compound and prefixed words goes back to England itself,
though no doubt the American penchant for trimming such things has
accelerated the trend quite a bit.  Take for instance the tendency these
days for people to use "email" instead of "e-mail".


I've never quite understood why people don't like using things like
hyphens, but then again I'm one of the ones who argues for using extra
parenthesis in C code where they might help the reader but are not
necessary.  ;-)

The Columbia Guide also says:

   A dieresis (the plural is diereses; diaeresis/diaereses are the usual
   British variants) is the diacritical mark (®) placed over the second
   of two consecutive vowel letters to indicate that it is to be given
   full syllabic force; thus each of the two contiguous vowels in naÔve
   is to have a syllable to itself:  nei-EEV.  Today American editors
   frequently specify a hyphen rather than a dieresis in some words
   (co-opt instead of coŲpt) that might otherwise confuse; in others,
   they often drop the dieresis and let context distinguish (naivete or
   naÔvete; reŽnlist, re-enlist, or reenlist).

Maybe now I'll go back to trying to use diaereses correctly now that I
live and work in a fully 8-bit world!  ;-)  (except for "co-op" and
"co-operative" of course! :-)

								Greg A. Woods

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