Subject: Re: English in NetBSD (Re: CVS commit: src/usr.bin/mklocale)
To: Reinier Jonker <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: current-users
Date: 05/06/2003 12:16:00
On Tue, 6 May 2003, Reinier Jonker wrote:

> On dinsdag, mei 6, 2003, at 06:59 PM, David Young wrote:
> > On Tue, May 06, 2003 at 04:28:36PM +0200, Reinier Jonker wrote:
> >> 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.
> >
> > Reinier, you seem to take the old-fashioned view that language is
> > always on decline, so it is desirable to privilege older, "original"
> > forms over the new. Thus American is a mere "regional variety" while
> > British English is "the Standard." Is your intention different?
> It is. English is a single language. There are a lot of people around
> the world who speak English. However, the language isn't called
> American, Australian or South-African. It's called English. England is
> the country where the language originated and where it is still used.
> It seems reasonable to me that the way English people use the language
> should be the standard. Aside from that, there are much more people who
> speak English than American.

One point you're glossing over is that when we speak of dialects, we speak
of American English and British English (and Australian English, Indian
English, and so on). It is inappropriate to mix the dialect-specific term
and dialect-inspecific terms.

British English is also refered to as The Queen's English.

Also, at this point, English is turning into a family of languages. The
geographical separation if the speakers was leading to linguistic
differences that could turn into different languages. Movies and
television have worked to reverse the separation, but each of the dialects
has had a good bit of divergence (some more than others).

As a specific example, when I was studying in Paris, my Scotish friends
thought some of the gramatical constructs I'd use (some of the
contractions, etc.) were just so cute & archaic. They fell out of use in
the UK say eighty years before, but were perfectly current in the US; the
languages had diverged. Not much, but they had diverged none the less.

> It's perfectly normal that Americans use American words, spelling and
> grammar when they speak American. But if you call something English, it
> should be according to standard English. If I remember correctly there
> is a commission in the UK that decides which spelling and grammar are
> recommended, which are allowed and which are conisdered wrong.

Uhm, no. See above. English >= British English.

> I think an international project working in English should adhere to
> British English, just like an international French-language project
> should be according to French and not Canadian standards.

Well, this project has decided to use American English as its standard

Take care,