RE: the Ethnologue

From: Ayers, Mike (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 13:15:30 EDT

> With English, the problem with spell checking is quite
> different, and different
> lists of words would not be as easy for a solution: the en-US
> vs. en-GB
> tagging does not seem to adequately cover the various
> differences such as
> -ise vs. -ize, -our vs. -or, -re vs. -er, use of shall vs.
> will at 1st person,...
> Or more precisely, if it does, that is if "en-GB" is intended
> to always cover
> the first case in the pairs above, then I believe it will be
> of less use to
> people (this is as I understand things; certainly people much
> more proficient
> with English will contradict me here; please allow for my
> lack of knowledge in
> this field and try to extract the point from my explanations. Thanks.)
> So here the solution with spell checking is more to allow
> "parametrisation"
> of the checking process, according to the user's taste and
> practice. While
> this is an feasible solution for English, this is not as easy
> for all languages.
> And certainly this is a process that does not fit well with tagging...

        The en-US vs en-GB case gets mentioned a lot. I can't speak for the
British, but I know that the "British" variants mentioned above are all
perfectly acceptable in American English - just rarely used.

        What I'd really like to know is why there seems to be this
insistence on only one official list of languages when there appears to be a
clear need for two. There appears to be interest for a comprehensive, if
imperfect, list on one hand, whereas other applications (web use, etc.) are
interested in a fully researched list like RFC1766 provides. Why must these
be the same list? Can't we acknowledge that it's going to take a long time
to get everything right and work from two eventually converging lists? Just


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