[openbeos] Re: AW: Re: AW: Locale Kit

  • From: <kevin.lawton@xxxxxx>
  • To: <openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 19:35:50 -0000

| -----Original Message-----
| From: openbeos-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
| [mailto:openbeos-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Scott MacMaster
| Sent: 22 December 2003 18:36
| To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
| Subject: [openbeos] Re: AW: Re: AW: Locale Kit
| > Don't quite get this - what has gender to do with sort order ?
| As far as I know, nothing.  The issue of gender was brought 
| up in reference
| to searching. 
Fair enough.  
| > What appears to be the fly in the ointment in this case is 
| those strange
| > little 'accent' thingies some of the southern European 
| languages seem
| > to need. Are they really necessary, or can they be ignored ? - and
| > why are they needed anyway when languages such as English, American
| > and Australian get along fine without them.
| What about that pesky apostrophe?  Other languages like 
| Spanish seem to get
| along fine without abbreviations.  Why don't (do not) we drop that
| apostrophe and simplify English.  It'll (It will) definitely help
| non-English speakers learn English. 
As I would have thought you'd realise, the apostrophe has two distinct uses: 
 - to allow the written language to more closely follow how it is actually 
spoken; as to say 'we will' instead of 'we'll'. 
 - to distinguish between a plural and a possessive; as with '(bunch of) 
grapes' or '(the) grape's (skin)'. 
Without it, or if used improperly, written English could be quite confusing. 
| More seriously though, if you removed them you'd completely 
| butcher the
| language.  Languages like Spanish tend to have minute 
| phonetic changes that
| have much greater effect on the meaning then what you're used 
| to.  Consider
| hablé and hable.  They are different conjugations of the same 
| verb and have
| similiar yet distinct differences.  Hablé is the indicative 
| and infers that
| something will happen or is certain to happen.  Hable is the 
| subjunctive and
| infers that something is anticipated but may not happen.  The 
| subjunctive is
| also used with commands.  To express the difference in 
| meaning that é and e
| may cause in English you may need an whole additional sentence.
| > Unfortunately, the ASCII
| > doesn't cater for accents because at the time it was 
| invented Americans
| > didn't use accents (rumour has it that they still don't).
| You mean English speaking Americans, right?  I suppose you're 
| not aware that
| nearly 50% of Americans speak Spanish. 
Do the 50 % spanish-apeaking Americans speak Spanish only, or do they also 
speak English ? 
Yes, it was English-speaking Americans who invented ASCII (obviously) so it 
caters for an English character set. Fortunately, most of the world uses 
English for business communications so it serves the purpose quite adequately. 
| > It seems that  all
| > issues of sorting are going to need to use either a 
| two-byte character
| > set or a system of 'value tags' unless the accents can be 
| ignored. In
| terms
| > of planning for the future - does it really matter ?
| Sure, in 75 years when we encounter the Angoleans from planet 
| Megaloid our
| computers should support accents because they may get 
| offended that we won't
| support their primary language and an all out war may start. 
Somehow, I find the above a little difficult to take completely seriously. I 
would expect that any interplanetary visitors, with sufficient technology to 
survive the journey, would have the intelligence to realise that there is no 
way we could reasonably be expected to predict their linguistic preferences. 
You weren't trying to lampoon me, were you ? 
| > Languages have a habit of dying out with disuse
| While that may be true it would be a bad decision to just ignore other
| languages (aside from being a bit arrogant).  Their is still 
| a rather large
| demand from non-English speakers.  Supporting other languages 
| could double
| the distribution of a product.  Not supporting other 
| languages may also
| result loss of support from future companies or not getting 
| support from
| current companies. 
Okay, so what is the alternative ? 
The characters set we use, represented by the ASCII, only appears to be able to 
cope with English and Dutch. 
Either a new character code set, which caters for the whole planet, would be 
required or different solutions needed for different languages. I think you 
will find that most of the whole world will be merrily using English as their 
'communication' language for a long time before we play host to 
extra-terrestial visitors.   

Other related posts: