Subject: Re: English in NetBSD
To: None <>
From: Fernando Machado <>
List: current-users
Date: 05/07/2003 05:41:57
Dear friends,

Until now, we have 29 msgs/flames about this subject. Would be possible 
to return to NetBSD or redirect this thread to another group?



Richard Rauch wrote:
 > Re.
 > Language evolves.  "American English" is no more a descendant of modern
 > "Brittish English" than we are descendants of the particular apes (or
 > even variety of apes) in your local zoo.  Common ancestry, yes, but not
 > one is not a direct descendant of the other.
 > We can still intercommunicate with each other (and this will probably be
 > helped by modern communications technologies).  Whether that's enough to
 > say that it's just two dialects of one language, or two distinct 
 > is up to your private interpretation.  ("A language is just a dialect 
 > an army and a navy...")
 > If historical derivation matters overwhelmingly to you, I have heard
 > (but obviously cannot personally verify; (^&) that English as spoken
 > (and written?) in the U.S is closer to the English that was spoken by
 > the Brittish at the time of the European colonizatin of North America.
 > So by that argument, "American English" would be the historically more
 > "true" English, while current "Brittish English" is the more deviant.
 > {\sarcasm I guess those Brits had better shape up before they completely
 > forget how to speak English!}
 > But this is completely absurd.  Natural language is not defined by 
 > or rules.  The language evolves.  People attempt to describe its current
 > practice in their dictionaries and grammars, and hopefully get the
 > information committed before it is too out of date.  (As someone said,
 > a standard is all well and good, but it needs to be properly defined
 > before it is worth worrying about.  And no one has, or will, or can
 > properly define a graven-in-stone standard for English or any other
 > living language.)
 > As for this particular case: I think that we (the people who are most 
 > to read the line of prose in question) all agree that we *can* parse it
 > either way and life will go on.  The NetBSD documentation is not entirely
 > consistant in choosing contemporary "American English" conventions, 
though I
 > think that they may be more prevalent.
 > If there isn't a policy about "American English" or "Brittish English"
 > variants in the rules for NetBSD documentation, maybe there should be
 > in order to make things more consistant.  But, pending that, I don't
 > see why people are getting their noses bent out of shape over this.
 > Let the people who care about making the docs consistant do so.  (And
 > only complain about their decisions if they contravene stated targets
 > or make the docs inaccurate.)
 > I don't think that anyone can claim any moral highground in the matter
 > of language propriety.