Re: Multilingual Documents

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sat Dec 04 1999 - 07:36:32 EST

Ar 15:12 -0800 1999-12-03, scríobh Tony Harminc:

>This brings up the point that not all occurrences of foreign words or
>phrases in a document are in that foreign language. English, most
>notably, borrows without shame, and I think that phrases like "au
>fait" or "a propos" found in an English document can fairly be said
>to be in English rather than French. Certainly many such are listed
>in English dictionaries, and most English users will not use accented
>letters where the French would require them. They are also used as
>part of English grammatical constructs, (e.g. I might say "a propos
>of such and such...") rather than as quoted foreign text.

The correct spelling of this naturalized English word is "apropos"; I
checked because I would assume that, naturalized or not, if it were "a
propos" it should be "à propos". In fact I would have spelled it that way,
and was surprised to find that I was wrong... :-)

The rules (for English) are that naturalized words (like "façade" and
"après-ski") are written in plain type (accent stripping is not the rule)
but that foreign words (like "auberge" and "berceuse") are written in
italics. Apropos the subject line, I have no idea whether anyone would
think to build such foreign terms into spelling/grammar checkers but I
suppose in 500 years it will be commonplace....

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
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