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Re: [RFC] automatic apostrophes

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: [RFC] automatic apostrophes
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 20:10:51 +0200
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Bruce Korb wrote:
> Why is this important?
> I understand that it is smooth and nice to have language flow in a
> natural way.  But here we are not talking about English or Catalan
> composition, but about comprehensibility of messages between a program
> and some human reader.  The idea is to convey some state information
> to a human.  To the extent that stiltedness blocks comprehension, it
> needs fixing.  Formatting text like "a %s went offline" is completely
> adequate for conveying information, even if the thing that was going
> offline went by a name that began with a vowel.  It does not impede
> comprehension.

Not only the language varies from one country do another, but also the
consideration of correctness and the limit between right or wrong.

You are a U.S. resident (I assume); it is well possible that your opinion
"messages only need to be comprehensible, not fully right" is shared by
a majority of the U.S. residents.

In other countries it is different: I know for sure that in France the
feeling is "messages must not only be in French and be comprehensible,
but also in good style". (There is actually one French translator who
does his translations according to your motto, and the majority of the
other French translators consider such a translation style as

I also believe that the quality of the messages is considered important
in Catalan - otherwise Robert Millan would not have raised the issue.

In Chinese, it is considered correct to glue words together without
spacing between them. (I believe, the same for Thai.) For English,
this would be considered as an unbearable sloppiness.


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