Re: OS X 10.2.4 non-standard & unconstitutional

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Apr 14 2003 - 15:54:32 EDT

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    At 18:37 +0100 2003-04-14, Marion Gunn wrote:

    >OS X 10.2.4 System Preferences currently reads 'Ireland (English) and
    >Ireland (Gaelic)', an expression which is unusual, non-standard and

    A preferences setting in software is intended to be a descriptive
    rubric for the user, and cannot be considered to be either a
    normative document or a legal instrument. Only legal instruments can
    be "constitutional" or "unconstitutional".

    >OS X 10.2.4 System Preferences should read 'Ireland (English) and Ireland

    In the first place, the string in question was released in OS X
    10.2.0, on 2002-08-24. That was nearly nine months ago. It was
    announced on the GAELIC-L, GAEILGE-A, and GAEILGE-B discussion lists
    on that date, and many people in Ireland and abroad have made use of
    those Irish settings and to date you are the first person to mention
    it at all, much less question it -- or object to it with hostility as
    you have.

    The string in question was specifically discussed in November 2001
    when the Irish locale was being developed by Apple Ireland and
    Everson Typography. It seemed appropriate that, in the broad context
    of OS X, the format "Ireland (Irish)" would be confusing to
    localizers. "Irlande (irlandais)" means a different thing than
    "Irlande (gaélique)" Indeed, even in Irish, both "Éire (Éireannach)"
    and "Éire (Gaeilge)" are accurate translations for "Ireland (Irish)".
    It was thought that the paired menu items "Ireland (English)" and
    "Ireland (Irish)" would be sufficiently confusing to a great many
    users -- including native English speakers in countries other than
    Ireland -- that the options chosen were the most appropriate.

    >'Irish' being the standard English name for our language, and the only such
    >allowed by the Irish Constution,

    While the Irish Constitution does, of course, use the word "Irish",
    it certainly does not forbid the use of the word "Gaelic" to refer to
    the language, as you imply.

    Indeed, de Bhaldraithe's 1959 English-Irish dictionary gives
    'Gaeilge' as one possible translation of "Gaelic".

    It is easy to recognize that the particular compromise chosen may not
    satisfy everyone. It was certainly not intended as the "masla
    frithbhunreachtúil" ('anti-constitutional insult') which you
    described it on another forum. One notes that Apple is the only major
    OS to offer a choice of locales to Irish users.

    >I ask that an error of that magnitude (same as using 'Scandinavian'
    >for 'Swedish' or 'Norwegan' national/legal language names) be
    >rectified as a matter of priority.

    It seems to me that this analogy is false.

    The Unicode Consortium doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with
    Mac OS X implementation.

    Out of courtesy I will raise this issue with NSAI/ICTSCC/SC4, of
    which I am convenor, and ask the committee its opinion on this matter.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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