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TMA
Nov 3, 2005, 01:25 PM
I know there's no easy answer, as there's no such thing as standardised international English, but what are people's thoughts on what we should use?

Is it best to pick one way of doing it and stick to it across all articles for continuity or should users create articles in their preferred English?

I've noticed a few of my articles have had words like colour changed to color for example. I prefer colour and using s inplace of z in words like rubberised. I would class this as British English and that it's debatably International English. However, if the majority of people would prefer a more Americanised version I would happily try and create my articles that way as I would prefer the continuity.

Is it worth laying down a standard?

HexMonkey
Nov 3, 2005, 02:05 PM
Much to my dislike, I tend to write articles in American English, primarily because most of the site's target audience is from the US. Plus, users of International English are probably used to incorrect, er, American spelling more than Americans are used to International English, since American English dominates the internet.

I'd vote to lay down a standard, for consistency, and (I can't believe I'm saying this) it should probably be for American English.

TMA
Nov 3, 2005, 02:14 PM
I'd vote to lay down a standard, for consistency, and (I can't believe I'm saying this) it should probably be for American English.

That's what I was afraid other people would say :(

iMeowbot
Nov 3, 2005, 02:58 PM
Over at Wikipedia they use a compromise:

If a given page is written consistently using one kind of English, leave it alone. Don't change consistent Commonwealth usage and spelling to US, or vice versa. It's pointless and only serves to upset people.
If a page mixes the two, go with the one that is used the most on that page.
Proper names go with their native spellings. (No MacRumours and so on).

Could we live with that here?

TMA
Nov 3, 2005, 02:59 PM
Could we live with that here?

Sounds good to me :)

dops7107
Nov 3, 2005, 03:03 PM
Erm... well when it comes to postings, it is less effort for me to write with British spellings. I don't mind US spellings as such, but dropped "u"s and the like do jar slightly on the eye!

Nermal
Nov 3, 2005, 07:21 PM
Well, since only one American has posted in this thread, let's just use real English throughout the whole thing :p

The moderator has spoken :D

I'd vote to lay down a standard, for consistency, and (I can't believe I'm saying this) it should probably be for American English.

I should ban you for saying that! :eek: :p

beverson
Nov 3, 2005, 09:45 PM
Over at Wikipedia they use a compromise:

If a given page is written consistently using one kind of English, leave it alone. Don't change consistent Commonwealth usage and spelling to US, or vice versa. It's pointless and only serves to upset people.
If a page mixes the two, go with the one that is used the most on that page.
Proper names go with their native spellings. (No MacRumours and so on).

Could we live with that here?

This makes sense to me. I am guilty of changing an "s" or two to "z" today, but I *think* it was inconsistently used (i.e., the same word was spelled two different ways on the same page). I definitely defaulted to U.S. English because that's what I'm used to, but I didn't even really think about it. I apologise to our Commonwealth friends.

beverson
Nov 3, 2005, 10:10 PM
Does that apply to date formats, too? I actually prefer a more international date format like 3 Nov., 2005.

mpw
Nov 3, 2005, 10:11 PM
...Some people claim that it is not important (it is if the message is misinterpreted!) .......People whose first language is not English have an excuse.
People whose first language is English don't....

I agree that if something is so poorly written as to be ambiguous or unintelligible than the writer need to take more care.

But I also agree that there aren't any truly firm spelling or grammar 'rules' just guidelines.

Languages are not set in stone they need and do evolve over time, sometimes very quickly. Just look at words in current use in English job, cash, pajamas, jodhpur, khaki, flak, etcetera etc. All those and many, many more are taken from Indian, German, Latin and other languages.

Really?

Rules of English Punctuation
Rules of English Grammar
Rules of English Spelling

The fact that English has adopted words from other languages doesn't mean we threw the rules of the language out to do it.
There is a fantastic book about the English language written to accompany a BBC series about 10years ago, the title of which or author both escape me at the moment.
I've posted about this book before and it, IMHO, should be required reading in all schools.
It documents how the English language has evolved and shows how it will continue to evolve.
There is a part where it prints a text to be read phonetically which is unintelligible as English, let alone make any sense, but is actually Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as it would originally have been read.
There have been a few things through history that have tried to standardised English the most successful being the first widely available dictionaries, TV/movies and probably most recently Microsoft.
There is an interesting section in the BBC book that shows how when the USA became independent from the UK they refused to use English dictionaries in their schools so there was a gap in the market filled by, IIRC, Webster’s Dictionary which was written by a man who didn’t see the logic of spelling centre as it is pronounced center, likewise he ironically changed standardised but left phonetic untouched. RP did a lot to standardize how many heard English spoken during the early/mid 20th century and I’d say Microsoft and it’s spellcheck dictionary in Word are the reason that so many people in England are happy to spell with ‘zeds’ (or ‘zees’) rather than S’s.

HexMonkey
Nov 3, 2005, 10:35 PM
I should ban you for saying that! :eek: :p

:eek: Sorry, won't happen again!

http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=34212 *Bows to Nermal* http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=34212

In all seriousness, Wikipedia's way of doing it sounds fine.

I apologise to our Commonwealth friends.

Intentional or a Freudian slip? :p

iMeowbot
Nov 3, 2005, 10:46 PM
Does that apply to date formats, too? I actually prefer a more international date format like 3 Nov., 2005.
Probably the only thing to really avoid is an all-numeric date like 3/11/2005 (3 November or March 11?). As long as months are named, readers should be fine.

Mechcozmo
Nov 4, 2005, 02:45 AM
Probably the only thing to really avoid is an all-numeric date like 3/11/2005 (3 November or March 11?). As long as months are named, readers should be fine.

Wikipedia seems to follow the #Date Month #Year format. The # symbol denotes it being a number. It works well enough, I think.

And I don't care about color vs. colour. If something is wrong to my editorial eye, I will fix it. If someone makes a page like:
"the macintosh xxxxxx was a vrey fast computor for its time, iwth a lot of knew features like pci but this particular model dosnt support OS X unless you hack it but it also included up to 1 and a 1/2 gigs of ram and a hard drive that was around 130 gigabyytes however as of yet knowbody has tried installing a x800 radeon in one"
I will bad that person. Permanently. You want to write articles? Write them. Don't press the keyboard and see what comes out. A couple misspellings, fine, don't remember you grammar too well, fine, but don't just slap stuff up there and expect someone to clean it up!

andysmith
Nov 4, 2005, 08:02 AM
It's just up to the writer of the article I suppose - the Wikipedia policy sounds good.

I've stuck to using American English in the titles (such as iPod (4G Color)), but maybe it'd be a good thing to set up a redirect with the Int. English spelling?

thequicksilver
Nov 4, 2005, 08:33 AM
Generally "International English" is something of a homogenised mix of various Englishes - so it will use "analyze", (I think) "colour", but would say "he said on Friday" instead of the US English "he said Friday".

I don't think there's going to be too many problems with it though to be honest - as long as the writer of the article is sensible and doesn't use too much local dialect, it's not going to be a problem.

Also to be considered is the presentation, and if you like "style guide" for the writings. For example, abbreviations - is it "UN" or "U.N."? Is it "Mr." or "Mr"? Numbers - 10000 or 10,000? GHz or Ghz? Times - 4:00 pm, 4:00 p.m., 16:00, 1600, etc?

It doesn't really matter which is used, as long as there's some consistency.

beverson
Nov 4, 2005, 08:54 AM
Yeah, at some point, someone should probably put together a style guide for this wiki —*proper abbreviations, if it's PowerBook, Powerbook, or Power Book (it's the first one), Mac OSX or Mac OS X (the latter), that sort of thing. Does Wikipedia have this?

iMeowbot
Nov 4, 2005, 12:57 PM
Wikipedia seems to follow the #Date Month #Year format. The # symbol denotes it being a number. It works well enough, I think.

They cheat :) Bracketed dates are converted to user prefs.

Yeah, at some point, someone should probably put together a style guide for this wiki —*proper abbreviations, if it's PowerBook, Powerbook, or Power Book (it's the first one), Mac OSX or Mac OS X (the latter), that sort of thing. Does Wikipedia have this?

There is one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style), but it doesn't get into that level of detail. The Apple trademark list (http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html) might be more useful for settling questions about names.

beverson
Nov 4, 2005, 01:04 PM
There is one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style), but it doesn't get into that level of detail. The Apple trademark list (http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html) might be more useful for settling questions about names.[/QUOTE]

Hey, cool. Guess I should have just looked for that, huh? I think you're right, though, the trademark page is probably even more useful.

DJY
Nov 4, 2005, 05:27 PM
Well, since only one American has posted in this thread, let's just use real English throughout the whole thing :p

Phew!
I just don't think I could ever bring myself to use anything but proper english. The realisation that this perspective might not be everyone's is ok, but I hope I'm allowed my own viewpoint. Hopefully no one will call the Dept of Defence and sic the commandos on me, or nab be on a footpath, throw me in the boot of my car, and flush my head down the toilet (yeah there are differences there too!).

[Sorry if my lame attempts to use Aussie / Proper English spelling and words annoys.]

Mechcozmo
Nov 4, 2005, 10:28 PM
They cheat :) Bracketed dates are converted to user prefs.

There is one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style), but it doesn't get into that level of detail. The Apple trademark list (http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html) might be more useful for settling questions about names.

Cheaters! If the MacGuides needs a styleguide, I wouldn't mind creating one. Already have to enforce one for Yearbook, what's one more? ;)

Mechcozmo
Nov 4, 2005, 10:29 PM
Also to be considered is the presentation, and if you like "style guide" for the writings. For example, abbreviations - is it "UN" or "U.N."? Is it "Mr." or "Mr"? Numbers - 10000 or 10,000? GHz or Ghz? Times - 4:00 pm, 4:00 p.m., 16:00, 1600, etc?

It doesn't really matter which is used, as long as there's some consistency.

U.N. because it is an abbreviation, Mr. for the same reasons, numbers are personal and national however in your example the 'more readable' would be 10,000, GHz is the correct form and not Ghz, and time is a whole 'nother big mess of an issue.

HexMonkey
Nov 4, 2005, 11:25 PM
Cheaters! If the MacGuides needs a styleguide, I wouldn't mind creating one. Already have to enforce one for Yearbook, what's one more? ;)

You're one step behind me (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=159655). ;)

Nermal
Nov 5, 2005, 12:00 AM
numbers are personal and national however in your example the 'more readable' would be 10,000

"10000" would be better, as in some countries "10,000" means "ten".

Garcia
Nov 5, 2005, 04:38 AM
Personally, I'm just going to use English. You know, the real one.

thequicksilver
Nov 5, 2005, 10:08 AM
"10000" would be better, as in some countries "10,000" means "ten".

True, but this isn't the case in any English speaking countries is it? I know ten thousand becomes "10.000" in several continental European nations, but not in any English native ones as far as I know. What's the correct standard in English is all that matters IMHO.

For abbreviations my preference is for dropping full stops altogether - they don't help clarity in any way. IBM isn't going to be anything other than the IT company, the UN isn't going to be anything other than the international organisation, and don't even get me started on the horrendousness of writing U.N.E.S.C.O. :)

rendezvouscp
Nov 5, 2005, 11:27 AM
Ah, so funny. I think most Brits have a little pride in their English being the "first and only true English." Do we need a little history lesson?

Americans wanted to create a social similarity in their English that separated them from their previous foreign ruler. As such, there are different spellings and even meanings for words, depending on the English spoken. However, there are different levels of English within each country (for example, car, automobile, or vehicle?). Let's not even mention William the Conqueror and all of the French words that made it into English.

My point? C'mon, we have our different Englishes! There's no reason to make such a big deal about what is "proper" or "true" English. They both have their own reasons for being.

I agree with consistency per article, but not necessarily in the whole wiki.
-Chase

thequicksilver
Nov 5, 2005, 11:55 AM
Ah, so funny. I think most Brits have a little pride in their English being the "first and only true English." Do we need a little history lesson?

Did you actually read the thread? Pretty much everyone writing here has acknowledged that no matter what is used, as long as it's consistent it doesn't matter at all. Regardless of personal preference.

dubbz
Nov 5, 2005, 11:59 AM
"10000" would be better, as in some countries "10,000" means "ten".

How about "10 000"? IMO, that's more readable than "10000" and shouldn't cause any confusion like "10,000" vs "10.000" could.

Unless that space have some other special meaning somewhere :p

rendezvouscp
Nov 5, 2005, 12:01 PM
Did you actually read the thread? Pretty much everyone writing here has acknowledged that no matter what is used, as long as it's consistent it doesn't matter at all. Regardless of personal preference.

I definitely read the thread; did you actually read my last sentence?

I sure hope you did, otherwise my sarcasm is actually relevant.
-Chase

Nermal
Nov 6, 2005, 12:33 AM
How about "10 000"? IMO, that's more readable than "10000" and shouldn't cause any confusion like "10,000" vs "10.000" could.

I'd prefer that too, but I didn't want to annoy the Americans too much :rolleyes:

Officially, "10 000" is how we write it here in NZ too (although it seems that most people don't actually know that).

r_howie
Nov 6, 2005, 07:56 PM
"10000" would be better, as in some countries "10,000" means "ten".
Well, if I read a text in English my brain would never for a moment consider the comma as a decimal separator. In Italian, instead, comma is the decimal separator.

"10,000" works good enough for me, or "10 000".

dotdotdot
Nov 6, 2005, 09:14 PM
How about "10 000"? IMO, that's more readable than "10000" and shouldn't cause any confusion like "10,000" vs "10.000" could.

Unless that space have some other special meaning somewhere :p

This is the "correct" numbers in American English (or... well yeah)

1
10
100
1000 (some write 1,000)
10,000
100,000
1,000,000
10,000,000
100,000,000

So, a comma comes before a set of 3 numbers, from right to left:

13629623 - the number before the comma
13629,623 - the comma BEFORE the last set of 3 numbers
13,629,623 - the commas seperating the 3 sets of numbers

840quadra
Nov 6, 2005, 11:05 PM
I just post an article and let others play with it.

If people want to edit my work, fine. I live in the USA, so I tend to use what people here call "American" English, even though "America" can relate with two continents and many countries :) .

http://forums.macrumors.com/image.php?u=47064&dateline=1127904880&type=profile

Mechcozmo
Nov 7, 2005, 01:00 AM
"10000" would be better, as in some countries "10,000" means "ten".

Yes, but in the countries that are primarily accessing the forums, they will know the different ways to read numbers, it isn't too hard... I don't have an issue with it, but oh well.

The Muffin Man
Nov 7, 2005, 02:36 AM
my point is not to place superiority on any kind of english, i believe that are are equally good as long as they are understood.

anyway, on the -ise vs -ize thing:

my argument that -ize is just as proper is that english definitely has latin roots, so the english that deviates more from latin must be one step farther from classic english, right? spanish also derives from latin a LOT, and most english verbs like "finalise/finalize" end with "-izar" in spanish. finalise is finalizar. realise is realizar.

so, -ize appears to be more classic. but im sure the argument can be made that english is NOT latin, and that english is from england, therefore its variety is the best. but -ize MUST be more classic.

mpw
Nov 7, 2005, 05:22 AM
my point is not to place superiority on any kind of english, i believe that are are equally good as long as they are understood.

anyway, on the -ise vs -ize thing:

my argument that -ize is just as proper is that english definitely has latin roots, so the english that deviates more from latin must be one step farther from classic english, right? spanish also derives from latin a LOT, and most english verbs like "finalise/finalize" end with "-izar" in spanish. finalise is finalizar. realise is realizar.

so, -ize appears to be more classic. but im sure the argument can be made that english is NOT latin, and that english is from england, therefore its variety is the best. but -ize MUST be more classic.
English is a mix of Latin and Germanic, and probably many others thrown in. Part of the beauty of English comes from the fact that it is fluid and can adapt and change unlike other languages that have very stringent rules like Latin and French which a Latin descendant.

BakedBeans
Nov 7, 2005, 05:37 AM
English is a mix of Latin and Germanic, and probably many others thrown in. Part of the beauty of English comes from the fact that it is fluid and can adapt and change unlike other languages that have very stringent rules like Latin and French which a Latin descendant.

You're pretty much on the money, There are other languages thrown in (As you say).

One thing is for sure, no matter which variety we choose we are assured the we are speaking the worlds true international language and probably the best :)

superbovine
Nov 7, 2005, 09:29 PM
"10000" would be better, as in some countries "10,000" means "ten".

When I was in college in the US we had several British professor, and we schooled in the ways of the comma :D Although, When I studied in Europe the comma in math notation was sorta of weird for me. I always screwed it up.

matticus008
Nov 8, 2005, 01:47 AM
English is a mix of Latin and Germanic, and probably many others thrown in. Part of the beauty of English comes from the fact that it is fluid and can adapt and change unlike other languages that have very stringent rules like Latin and French which a Latin descendant.
English is no more or less fluid in form than any other language in the world. The fragmentation (and the definition of forms) is largely political. The French academie retains a tight control on the evolution of the language because of tradition and cultural reasons.

English once had a case system, much more complex pronouns, and a variety of other grammatical features that it has elected to discard. Spanish (and there again, the debate over "proper" Spanish) literature written in the 1500s is a challenge to read today, because the language has been simplified in response to various forces. Finnish isn't archaic because it's held onto its 16 cases, it's just evolved to different forces of change.

English has very stringent rules, just like other languages. It's just that culturally, people are less inclined to care about violating those rules. The major changes in English have been driven by fairly large, significant historical events (the Norman conquest, the Protestant revolution, and the colonization of the New World all had huge impacts on English). English's hard and fast rules DO matter (technically, if not culturally) and don't change any faster than other languages. Lexical borrowing is not grammatical change, and changes in spelling are fairly trivial given that English has one of the least consistent orthographies of any language.

Latin itself has not been observed to change only because it's only been practiced academically, and therefore frozen in place by tradition and the nature of its non-use. American English and RP (Commonwealth) English are arguably two entirely separate languages, despite being 99%+ identical. Danish is only a separate language by declaration, not by merit. What that means in this discussion is that "true" English cannot be dictated onto sovereign nations. American English is the true English of the United States; other countries may differ. Canadian English is neither here nor there, but is the true English of Canada. There is no true English of the entire world, and no true "Internet English" that would guide the MR Guides.

mpw
Nov 8, 2005, 04:21 AM
English is no more or less fluid in form than any other language in the world….
…The French academie retains a tight control on the evolution of the language because of tradition and cultural reasons…
…English once had a case system, much more complex pronouns, and a variety of other grammatical features that it has elected to discard…
…English has very stringent rules, just like other languages. It's just that culturally, people are less inclined to care about violating those rules…
…English's hard and fast rules DO matter (technically, if not culturally) and don't change any faster than other languages…

Most of what you’ve said I don’t disagree with. But it seems you start by disagreeing with my opinion that English is no more fluid than other languages then go on to say that some other language have only been less fluid because the people speaking those languages chose not to change. While English speakers chose to change, or that the languages itself chose to change?

Surely it’s how the language is used that makes the language fluid not the potential to be used in a fluid manner, or all language would be fluid.

wiseguy27
Nov 8, 2005, 12:56 PM
Over at Wikipedia they use a compromise:

If a given page is written consistently using one kind of English, leave it alone. Don't change consistent Commonwealth usage and spelling to US, or vice versa. It's pointless and only serves to upset people.

Yes, DON'T ANNOY the author(s). ;) After all, everybody can understand US or British/Australian/Canadian/Rest of the world English. Why place too big an emphasis on spelling? The only thing that might annoy people is inconsistency (or really poor spelling and/or grammar). Try to stick to one form and members (the mature ones around) wouldn't complain. :)

And please, do not use "Internet" or "SMS" English - like "u cud use da ctrl key 2 opn da pop up menu wen cliking da mouze." :mad:

matticus008
Nov 8, 2005, 05:23 PM
Most of what you’ve said I don’t disagree with. But it seems you start by disagreeing with my opinion that English is no more fluid than other languages then go on to say that some other language have only been less fluid because the people speaking those languages chose not to change. While English speakers chose to change, or that the languages itself chose to change?

Surely it’s how the language is used that makes the language fluid not the potential to be used in a fluid manner, or all language would be fluid.

Right. The people choose to change their language (or a more powerful country forces change). I guess my disagreement was purely semantic in nature (the language itself is not more or less open to change [though there have been languages that are structurally limited to changes]). It's the people that change the languages, so the credit goes to English speakers and English-speaking cultures, not the English language. Obviously I've dismissed Sapir-Whorf here, because it's preposterous on the scale they proposed.

Innate potential to change is a variable, it's just that most major languages have similar values for that variable. No major beef, but when being specific, it always helps to be as completely specific as possible. :)

Peel
Nov 8, 2005, 07:12 PM
And please, do not use "Internet" or "SMS" English - like "u cud use da ctrl key 2 opn da pop up menu wen cliking da mouze." :mad:

Aw, come on... I think everything should be written in 3l173 :rolleyes:

oober_freak
Nov 9, 2005, 02:17 PM
India being a commonwealth country, we're taught England's "English" but pretty much every one uses American English. Even in schools, they consider both -ize and -ise.

English is a language that has evolved a lot. I'd not be surprised if it is a lot different 50 years hence.

My suggestion is not to give THAT much attention to spellings. As for the ones who do, you're the right person to teach English in the local school :P