From: Philippe Verdy (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Dec 13 2005 - 05:09:55 CST
From: "Mike Ayers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Given a dynamic list to enumerate into a sentence ( "dog", "cat", "mouse",
> "ostrich" ), how do I proceed? The list items themselves are already
> globalized, it is the creation of the syntactically correct localized
> string declaring the list ( "dog, cat, mouse, and ostrich" ). Pointers are
If you are assuming that the list separator ", " and that the last separator
", and" are universal, that's where you could be wrong.
For example the French translation for "and" is "et", but it must not be
preceded by a comma according to French punctuation rules.
Also, in languages that traditionally do not include spaces forword
separation, or that use another separator (such as the full-width
ideographic comma) not only the space could be absent, the commaitself
wouldbe replaced, and the last separator could be only another ideograph.
Some languages also do not have separators for lists (the concept of comma
may be missing, or restricted to other uses, and a comma could not be used
in this context where it could be confusable with another sign).
Also don't forget that some contexts also require using an alternate list
separator, such as the semi-colon, when each list item could include a comma
(for example numbers with decimals).
Finally the separator to use could depend on the logical relationship
between items in the list (for example it could be necesssary to make
distinctions between "AND", "OR", or "EXCLUSIVE OR", i.e. between the
cardinality of the inclusive relation), and to the positive (inclusive) or
negative (exclusive) semantics (see "neither x, nor y, nor z" in English, or
"ni x, ni y, ni z" in French), with possible logical interactions between
the two: NOT(a AND b AND c AND ... z) = (NOT a) OR (NOT b) OR ... (NOT z).
The later interactions may affect the way a list with the same items and
with identical mutual relationship can be reused in different contexts,
meaning that the content of the represented list must be adapted.
And don't forget the case of the "double negation" which is typically used
and needed grammatically or semantically in French, where when words
indicates a limitation,and the other specifies the nature of the limitation
(ne... pas, ne... jamais, ne... plus) and which has some complications when
it is used on enumerated lists (depending on the grammatical nature of the
list items, for example if they are adjectives or nouns or verbal groups or
full sentences). A similar case exists in English with the transformation of
list items (for example transforming "some" into "any").
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