Subject: Re: English in NetBSD (Re: CVS commit: src/usr.bin/mklocale)
To: Reinier Jonker <>
From: Jaka Jejcic <>
List: current-users
Date: 05/06/2003 17:07:15
On Tue, May 06, 2003 at 04:28:36PM +0200, Reinier Jonker wrote:
> On dinsdag, mei 6, 2003, at 09:26 AM, David Laight wrote:
> >On Mon, May 05, 2003 at 09:53:00PM -0500, Frederick Bruckman wrote:
> >>On Mon, 5 May 2003, Andrew Brown wrote:
> >>
> >>>>I dedicate this book to my parents, Ayn Rand and God.
> >>>
> >>>i think this is a bit ambiguous either way.  to add the comma would
> >>>make it:
> >>>
> >>>	I dedicate this book to my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.
> >>>
> >>>ie, a list, but to replace the comma would give:
> >>>
> >>>	I dedicate this book to my parents: Ayn Rand and God.
> >>>
> >>>which names your parents.  a single comma just strikes me as awkward
> >>>for both possible interpretations.
> >>
> >>Duh. The point of the example is to demonstrate why you need the
> >>second comma (unless you really are JC's half-brother).
> >
> >That comma doesn't make any difference, consider the very similar
> >dedication:
> >
> >    I dedicate this book to my grand parents, Anne Smith, Joe Smith,
> >    Ayn Rand[,] and God.
> >
> >You do have to remember that Fowler's books are on American, not 
> >English.
> >So this probably gets into the same area as whether you consider
> >behaviour, labelled, mouldier, aluminium and colour to be correct
> >spellings...
> They are, in fact, the only correct spellings. American is nothing more 
> than a regional variety. IMHO, the standard spelling and grammar for an 
> international project should always adhere to British Standard English.

I don't think I agree with you on this one. I'm not a native English
speaker either. But I think you can't just put American English to
a 'regional variety'. On the contrary, it is the American spelling that
prevails (and creates) the computer world of English and, if trying
to set a standard, is closer to one. (In the sense of computers, of course)

> A Briton will always be able to read American, just as well as an 
> American can read 'British' English, but I think the standard should be 
> respected, just like with, for example, an HTML page. Even though a 
> page may work in any browser you know, it should be accourding to the 
> standard.

Standards should be respected. But they must first be correctly defined.

> And considering the comma, I'm a 100% certain that placing a comma 
> before "and" in Dutch is a grammatical error. I'm not entirely sure if 
> that's the case in English as well, but I think it probably is. It 
> doesn't seem logical to me, since 'and' effectively replaces the comma. 
> (Actually, it's the other way round. In Latin, where no comma exists, 
> "and" was placed between all members of the list)

It is also illegal to put a comma before 'and' in Slovene. (Excluding
some special cases where comma must be placed regardles of the next word
- that is 'and' in this case)