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BS: Tech US to UK English advice please

Rowan 14 Nov 06 - 09:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Nov 06 - 07:16 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Nov 06 - 06:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Nov 06 - 06:00 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Nov 06 - 05:21 PM
Rowan 14 Nov 06 - 04:56 PM
ClaireBear 14 Nov 06 - 11:00 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Nov 06 - 07:29 AM
GUEST, Topsie 14 Nov 06 - 04:24 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Nov 06 - 08:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 06 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 13 Nov 06 - 05:43 PM
ClaireBear 13 Nov 06 - 05:13 PM
GUEST 13 Nov 06 - 05:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 06 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,thurg 13 Nov 06 - 03:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 06 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,thurg 13 Nov 06 - 03:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 06 - 02:58 PM
ClaireBear 13 Nov 06 - 02:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 06 - 01:26 PM
Grab 13 Nov 06 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,thurg 13 Nov 06 - 09:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 06 - 09:08 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Nov 06 - 08:21 AM
mandotim 13 Nov 06 - 08:15 AM
Bat Goddess 13 Nov 06 - 07:51 AM
ClaireBear 13 Nov 06 - 01:22 AM
GUEST,thurg 12 Nov 06 - 11:24 PM
Rowan 12 Nov 06 - 11:03 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 06 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,thurg 12 Nov 06 - 09:09 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Nov 06 - 07:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Nov 06 - 06:50 PM
Peace 12 Nov 06 - 06:31 PM
Rowan 12 Nov 06 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 12 Nov 06 - 01:49 PM
Ebbie 12 Nov 06 - 01:39 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Nov 06 - 12:38 PM
danensis 12 Nov 06 - 12:27 PM
Snuffy 12 Nov 06 - 10:20 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Nov 06 - 11:49 PM
ClaireBear 11 Nov 06 - 09:12 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Nov 06 - 08:44 PM
Grab 11 Nov 06 - 05:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 06 - 05:09 PM
The Villan 11 Nov 06 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,thurg 11 Nov 06 - 04:32 PM
Bill D 11 Nov 06 - 04:29 PM
GUEST, Topsie 11 Nov 06 - 04:22 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 09:36 PM

Two or three years ago the ABC (Australian) televised a competition between a 12 year old lad who was obviously a bit of a hot shot (never seen it as "an hot shot") at txting with his mobile phone (OK, "sell phone") and a couple of nonagenarians who could send and receive Morse code.

The competition was set up so that both parties had to transmit a reasonably long question from Sydney to Perth, where it was deciphered (by another txter for the phone and one of the nonagenarians for the Morse) and the answer to the question sent back to Sydney by email.

The Morse pair won quite handsomely and the expression on the face of the lad at the news he'd been comprehensively beaten was a sight for sore eyes. I don't think a pub was involved, so I can't decide whether it would have been a hotel or an hotel.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 07:16 PM

The thing that puzzles me about txtspell is that it's supposed to save time, but with if you use "predicted text" in a mobile phone it's surely liable to be slower if you don't use normal words and spellings.

And since most people read with their eyes rather than their lips it takes longer to interpret as well, especially if any, even slightly unusual, words or expressions are used. (Just turn any extended passage into txtspell and it looks like klingon, something to be decoded, rather than scanned instantly in the way standard spelling normally permits.)

I am sure there will be some txt abbreviations which will become standardised and recognisable, in the same way that "&" is recognised as an alternative to "and", or "etc" for "etcetera", but that's a different matter from having whole passages written in improvised code.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 06:35 PM

Yes Claire -

the real pedants remember that English - most 'human' (this excludes 'computer languages')languages too - come in 2 forms - spoken and written.

However, looking at modern culture all around, I'm wondering if that number should be increased - eg 'phonics' & most definitely 'txting' - which funnily enough, a few days ago there was great furore in Australia about. Some school authorities publicly stated that 'txtspell' would be accepted in written answers to tests - 'as long as the MEANING was clear'.... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 06:00 PM

The rule in England for a/an and h has for many years been the same as now appears to have been adopted in the USA - that the pronunciation determines whether it is a or an - but of course pronunciation varies.

Fowler (original) yet again: A is used before all consonants except silent h (a history, an hour); an was formerly usual before an unaccented syllable beginning with h (an historical work), but now that the h in such words is pronounced the distinction has become pedantic, & a historical should be said and written.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 05:21 PM

A "flexible" difference that comes to mind is the use of "a" vs "an."

In my past experience, UK usage was according to spelling, and "an" was used strictly preceding any word that began with a vowel or "h."

US usage was by pronunciation, so it was "an hour" but "a horse." (US usage "pronounces" the h in horse distinctly, - - usually.)

I've noted, working with quite a number of green card Brits, that at least they (working in the US) had drifted more to the US usage, both in speech and in writing, but wonder if the usage has changed "over there."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 04:56 PM

Go Claire!
When I started uni there were still lots of words around with a "oo" in them where the umlaut was routinely printed (as a pronunciation guide, I suppose) but zoology and oocyte were not among them. Neither was "noone", and everybody 'knew' they were pronounced with the separation of the two vowels; nobody pronounced noone as noon. In the last 20 years or soo though, I have come across 'first years' (called 'freshers' in my youth and freshmen in the US, I gather) pronouncing zoology and oocyte as "zoo ology" and "oo cyte", respectively. So I can understand the desire to hyphenate no-one or separate it into two words.

Working in archaeology and palaeoanthropology ("cooee" isn't the only word with four consecutive vowels) I frequently come across the American spelling of these and similar words and find it mildly irritating when the authors are Australians who rely on Micro$oft as an authority. But that's just my provincial loyalties at play. Interestingly, I hear (but haven't yet confirmed) that various American journals are now advising contributors that they require the older spelling(s).

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: ClaireBear
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 11:00 AM

Topsie has a very good point, but what he doesn't know is that I am a quadruple virgo, which means that what I want is to do the best job I possibly can -- which in turn is why I have been asking all of you for input.

I have about ten pages of spelling and vocabulary differences collected, relying largely on this Finnish site, which had higher overall quality than any other online resource I was able to locate. Tomorrow I will dig out my Fowler and add to the sparse grammar and punctuation sections.

I am feeling reasonably good about it; mostly I wanted to be sure that there was not one perfect reference work that I should be using but that I hadn't heard of. After asking all of you as well as querying an expat American friend (who as it happens is a linguist) in New Zealand and not getting any answer other than Fowler, I am fairly confident that I'm not overlooking any obvious research resources.

Thank you all very much for your comments! They have helped me tremendously, and it's been grand to watch the discussion grow. I can't tell you how delightful it is to find that there are people out there who are yet more pedantic than I; I hadn't been entirely sure that was possible.

Cheers,
Claire


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 07:29 AM

... for as long as you keep the job Napoleonette!


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 04:24 AM

ClaireBear,
If they are asking you to produce the style guide, and not specifying what they want, doesn't this give you a wonderful opportunity to impose what YOU want on the firm?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 08:00 PM

"English" is a polyglot - it accumulated lots of stuff from many different and conflicting inconsistent sources.

It still does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 06:08 PM

They seem to have stopped doing that these days, in England anyway. They've invented a whole different sort of grammatical framework, and I can't make head nor tail of it. (Nor can a lot of people trying to teach the language, for that matter.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 05:43 PM

For a language that developed so well without one, English sure has lots of conundrums for the imposers of Latin grammer!


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 05:13 PM

I think with this company it's probably political: a worldwide sales and marketing force does not particularly like having U.S. grammar (and, probably more importantly, the U.S. system of weights and measures; metric system is listed only parenthetically) imposed upon them as standard by the corporate head office. Therefore, they have apparently declared themselves unwilling to use the A4-sized documents prepared for them by the head office until and unless those documents are delivered in UK English.

I can't really say I blame them, and I honestly don't mind doing their conversions for them -- but I do wish they would go the extra mile (kilometre) and supply me with a list of the conversions they would like me to implement. Really, it's awfully hard for me to know exactly what they want. And because, as I've said, I'm preparing a corporate style guide, this would be a very good time to have the conversion process completely documented. Ah, well...


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 05:00 PM

I am sure of one thinG, I have been writing to my relatives in the USA for years and they have no bother with my English and neither have I any bother with their "American".


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 04:15 PM

A great man - there aren't that many dictionaries you are scared to pick up when you're in a hurry, because they are liable to suck you in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:53 PM

I'm tellin' yuh, you gotta get up pretty early in the morning to get one past this pedant!

Really, though, I wasn't trying to get one-up (one up? oneup?) on you - but I was hoping to get one-up on Fowler.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:33 PM

No. Well spotted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:11 PM

McGrath - Thanks for the clarification. Now I have another question: did Fowler write "Rev" like that ("the Rev Septimus's surplice"), without a period after the the "v"? As I recall, he was quite clear in his entry on abbreviations that a period is required for an abbreviation that cuts the word short, so to speak, as opposed to an abbreviation that squeezes out some middle letters but retains the final letter (e.g., "St" for "Saint").


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 02:58 PM

But just run that quote of mine from Fowler through the Google toolbar spellchecker that tend to come with Firefox, and you'll see what I mean.

And I think that though Fowler there had "St James's" you won't find that too often when it comes to people singing "St James' infirmary". Not anywhere.

Every rule they come up with, there's going to be an exception turn up. That's what makes it an interesting language. Well, one reason anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 02:24 PM

It's no longer "customary" in the U.S. either, at least not universally. As I've already said, Chicago Manual of Style (produced by the University of Chicago Press, which publishes primarily books) suggests 's in all cases except Jesus' and Moses'. Many editors here use that book as their primary style reference.

Many other editors (primarily journalistic ones) follow the Associated Press Stylebook guidelines. I've just checked those and found that the AP Stylebook (primarily intended to be used by the press) advocates the use of the apostrophe without a final s for all proper names. So I'd venture it's more "customary" in journalism than in scholarly English...yet another reason not to believe everything you read in the newspaper!

Claire


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 01:26 PM

Basically it's a matter of what's easier to say - "Jesus's" is more awkward than "Jesus'" "Truss's" is easier than "Truss'". At least to me it does.

Fowler is clear that when there is an extra s it should be pronounced, and that when it isn't there it is shouldn't be pronounced. The possessive apostrophe would always be there (unless one was following George Bernard Shaw, and leaving out all apostrophes everywhere, as a matter of principle). The puzzle was as to when the apostrophe should be followed be an additional s, and on what occasions it might be correct to dispense with that additional s.

It was formerly customary, when a word ended in -s, to write its possessive with an apostrophe, but no additional s, e.g. Mars' Hill, Venus' Bath, Achilles thews. In verse, & in poetic or reverential contexts, this custom is retained, & the number of syllables is the same as in the subjective case, e.g. Achilles' has three not four; Jesus or of Jesus, not Jesus's But elsewhere we now add the s & the syllable, Charles's Wain, St James's not St James', Jones's children, the Rev Septimus's surplice, Pythagoras's doctrines.(Fowler 1926)

(I see that the spell checker built into Google, though recognising at least some English English spellings, is insistent that Fowler here is wrong and that the "formerly customary" system is still current. Presumably this indicates that in America it is.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Grab
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 12:17 PM

"Noone" *has* to be an error (unless it's Samuel Pepys telling the time, perhaps) because "oo" is not the same as "o o". Thinking about it, maybe "no-one" versus "no one" differentiates a "negative entity" (to coin a phrase) from a count. If you said "no one", it would make more sense in the context of "no one termite destroys a building, but a million of them will".

But given the number of bizarre constructions in English, it ain't necessarily so. :-/ And I agree that "no one" is normally perfectly clear in context - it just happens that I learnt it as "no-one".

Graham.

PS. Rowan, I'd heard the joke as "eats, roots, shoots and leaves" and involving a panda, long before Truss's book (although long after 1952! ;-). I just assumed she'd bowdlerised the joke for publication.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 09:41 AM

McGrath -

'"Spell it the way you pronounce it" seems pretty simple and straightforward ... '

"Seems", perhaps - the problem I have with it is that in the normal run of my conversation, the possessive forms of Jesus, Mars, Bridges, Demosthenes, Cassius, etc., don't come up often enough for me to have unequivocal pronunciations of them. Whether in speaking or writing, I'm liable to make a quick mental query as to "correctness", and probably will moreso after this discussion; it is in that sense that I find the 1999 Fowler unhelpful.

It is unclear in your post, and I don't have a copy here of the "real" Fowler to check, if Fowler was talking about adding only the apostrophe after s in instances where you actually pronounce what the 1999 Fowler calls an "extra" s, as you imply, or whether he wasn't rather assuming that an extra s is not, in fact, pronounced. I'm not talking about his recommendation, but his description of the "formerly customary" practice. Clarification?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 09:08 AM

"Spell it the way you pronounce it" seems pretty simple and straightforward, when it come to what Fowler called "possessive puzzles".

Interestingly enough, the form where you leave off the 's when the word ends in s already is apparently the older one. "Formerly customary" is how Fowler put it, going on to point out (back in 1926) that it wasn't customary any more, except in a few special cases.

So, if Americans find themselves impelled to do it that way in writing, even when they wouldn't in speaking, that would be another example of a frequent national tendency to stick with the older way of doing things. (That's not a criticism, just an observation.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 08:21 AM

Ah - mandotim - Apostrophes should NEVER be 'random'. you see.... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: mandotim
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 08:15 AM

Isn't it about time we 'bit the bullet' and started calling the language spoken in the USA 'American'? To my mind the two languages are now different enough to warrant different names. The differences are especially apparent in two fields; slang, and the language of political correctness, with it's incredible contortions to avoid offence. I certainly don't want to have to continually qualify my first language as 'English' English.
Note for the Apostrophe Police; here are a few random ones, for people to use as they see fit.

'''''''''''''
                      ''                ''''

'             '             ''''''''
Tim (with tongue firmly in cheek)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 07:51 AM

Interesting...I'm sure I posted to this thread yesterday, but it's not here.

Anyway, what I said was that I had (while working for a commercial printer) done the opposite for our client Heinemann Publishing -- Americanized British English in some of their printed material.

Linn


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 01:22 AM

If I remember correctly, the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., advocated adding 's in all cases except in Greek- and Latin-derived names ending in an unaccented "us" or "es" (short u, short e, or schwa sound). So, that'd be Dickens's, Ramses's (because of the long e), and Demosthenes's -- but Jesus', Cassius', Moses', and so on. That rule was easy to follow and made at least some sense. The 15th ed., again if I recall correctly (it's at work and I'm not), has reduced the exception list so that ONLY Jesus' and Moses' escape the final s. This rule I find less elegant because it's arbitrary and smacks of religious preference. If I had my druthers, I'd go with the 14th ed. dictum or else leave the "s" off in all cases. But they never (well, hardly ever) ask me for my opinion!

Claire


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 11:24 PM

For some time now, the s-apostrophe-s as in "Truss's" has been the
"prefered" form, both in writing and in pronunciation. I can't quote you chapter and verse off the top of my head, but I think you'll find this in any reputable book on style from the last thirty years or so, at least. I have a feeling that even Fowler, back in the '20's (prefered modern style: "20s"), recommended this usage.

Just checked my 1999 so-called "Fowler's", and there is a little more ambiguity than I have indicated above; to wit: "Add 's to names that end in s when you would pronounce them with an extra s in speech (e.g. Charles's, Dickens's ... ); but omit 's when the word is normally pronounced without the extra s (e.g. Bridges', Connors', Mars' ... )." Not terribly helpful, is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 11:03 PM

McGrath raises an interesting point about the differences between the language we speak ("Lynne Truss's book") and the language we write for reading ("Lynne Truss' book). Like most here, I'd speak it the way McGrath wrote it but I was always taught to write it the way I did. I suppose you'd have to consider the audience for whom you're writing, which is what the thread started on. As a person who has had to write technically I've learned 'what is expected' in the various fields. But I've also felt obliged to recompose a passage which reads (to my eyes) correctly in the technical idiom but which sounds cumbersome or awkward if read as it would be spoken.

I'd never even heard of Giant Pandas when I first heard the wombat joke (in Melbourne) in about 1952. It wasn't the first smutty joke I heard but the "Eats, roots, shoots and leaves" stayed in my memory because the wordplay connotation appealed to my nascent knowall tendencies. I'm still having trouble with them.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 09:30 PM

I used to do the opposite (English to American) while working for a commercial printing company working for the publisher Heinemann.

Let me know if I can help.

Linn


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 09:09 PM

"Up above Grab wrote "no-one", I believe I've seen it written by UKers as 'noone' and in the US we spell it 'no one'."

"No-one" has become quite common in the US; I believe it's the standard spelling used in the New Yorker, for example. "Noone" is positively barbaric.

I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone, including the proofreaders at the New Yorker, would feel the need to alter the perfectly sensible and unambiguous "no one".


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 07:07 PM

" is preferable to either of two things, real ambiguity or patent artificiality."

Either is suitable Australian English.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:50 PM

Shouldn't this be:
"A real split infinitive, though not desirable in itself, is preferable to either of two things, real ambiguity or patent artificiality."?


No - that wouldn't have been an accurate quote. And while the amendment danensis suggest is OK (apart from having the full stop preceding a question mark at the end, I think Fowler's version has a better rhythm, as well as being perfectly grammatical, as is only to be expected.
..........................
Many would prefer the apostrophe to be bare of the subsequent "s", so that his comment would read "Lynne Truss' book Eats, Shoots and Leaves".

And many wouldn't. I think it'd be quite wrong. I can't imagine that anyone would ever be likely to actually pronounce it that way, particularly with a one syllable name.
.......................

I think the "Eats shoots and leaves" joke most often involves a Giant Panda. But probably not in Australia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Peace
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:31 PM

Hire a translator.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 05:14 PM

Dictionaries have different rules about word definitions, which might affect how much weight you give their recommendations. The Oxford (in its full manifestation) attempts to record usage and etymology; it is excellent at providing info on 'First Usage'. The Macquarie (OK, I know you're all on about US/UK English) records current usage, no matter how infelicitous it seems. I don't know the policy for Chambers.

McGrath's comment "When Lynne Truss's book Eats, Shoots and Leaves" reminded me of a couple of things. Many would prefer the apostrophe to be bare of the subsequent "s", so that his comment would read "Lynne Truss' book Eats, Shoots and Leaves". When Lynne Truss visited Australia she told the story that she had published it before she'd heard the old Australian joke about the American who was called a wombat when he left his partner 'the morning after'. The punchline required the dictionary definition of a wombat, given as an animal that "eats, roots, shoots and leaves."

And, while you're at it, make sure your software presents date formats appropriately for the target audience.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 01:49 PM

writhing with fits of laughter, you guys are so funny!

...seriously if you really want qualified help, the best source of correct UK English today is the plain English campaign by the BBC, and those who supply it with talent, to-wit editors of UK English popular newspapers, and others in the UK who are doing that type of work. But, don't be fooled into getting any Pom who sounds like they know what you need, for example, a proof reader with a romance-novel mill would not be any use at all to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 01:39 PM

I've been curious for some time about the spelling in one instance. Up above Grab wrote "no-one", I believe I've seen it written by UKers as 'noone' and in the US we spell it 'no one'. ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 12:38 PM

Snuffy -

It's quite true that you do have to manage the exceptions. You do that during the typing where a Ctl-Z backs out the change. As long as you watch what's happening, repeated Ctl-Z will back up anything resulting from the last character typed, if you do it before you continue typing.

My experience with "technical manuals" would indicate that very little translation actually is needed. I've worked extensively with Brit/Canadian/Italian "owned" US companies in which "deviant English" of all kinds appears, and if the manuals are technically sound there seems to be very little problem with proper usage by all concerned.

The aircraft industry, and to some extent a few others, do use a "standard simplified English" for repair manuals, identical for all users, and Japanese and Chinese maintenance workers, at the repair line level, seem to have no problems with it. Use of this "language" is mandatory for ATA certified equipement. Separate US/UK manuals are not (usually) produced for shared NATO hardware.

There is a link near the bottom of the page linked above to "help programs," or a Google (I used "Simplified English International") will find a number of "checker programs" specific to the use of this Simplified English version. The system is quite good for describing "objects" and "processes" but comes up a bit short for discussing philosophy and metaphysics.

Of course different people have different definitions of "technical," and the one with the checkbook gets to say what's wanted.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: danensis
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 12:27 PM

"A real split infinitive, though not desirable in itself, is preferable to either of two things, to real ambiguity and to patent artificiality."

Shouldn't this be:
"A real split infinitive, though not desirable in itself, is preferable to either of two things, real ambiguity or patent artificiality."?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:20 AM

But auto-correct can't tell when to change it and when to leave it alone: "Don't tire yourself out: let me change that tire for you" needs only the second instance changing to "tyre" to make it English English.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 11:49 PM

Probably not news to ClaireBear, but some others may not realize that in Word one has not only the spellcheck dictionary, which can be changed by swapping languages, but also a Grammar check and AutoCorrect and Autoreplace functions.

It's helpful to know in what order things happen with respect to these functions.

The base spellcheck dictionary cannot be modified, so you can't delete words from it. You can add words to your own "custom dictionary" if you find ones that are not in the dictionary.

Spellcheck runs first, so if there's a word that is in the spellcheck dictionary that you don't want, you "delete" it by entering, in the AutoCorrect dictionary, the "correctly spelled" word that spellcheck inserts, so that after Spellcheck inserts the word, AutoCorrect replaces it with the word you want. Replace "tire" with "tyre," as an example.

AutoCorrect also "trumps" (comes after) the Grammar check and AutoFormat, so that if you allow the program to "correct initial caps," which changes TOP SECRET to Top Secret, entering a Change "Top Secret" to "TOP SECRET" in AutoCorrect lets you automatically change it back to "TOP SECRET" after SpellCheck and AutoFormat both think they've fixed it. This can be really handy with some company names (especially Brit ones) that have formats like xXxXXXx ('cause it's cute).

This is also how one eliminates the need to use WordImPerfect in order to get their "legal spellcheck dictionary"1 that deletes "trail" from the spelling dictionary. Just enter in AutoCorrect: "trail" to "trial."

1 The only known sem-rational reason for adoption of WierdPerfect by nearly all legal firms a couple of decades ago.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: ClaireBear
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 09:12 PM

Someone who shall remain nameless, but who is a longtime Catter and an old friend (Oops! almost typed fiend! Sorry, Dave!), once dubbed me "the Queen of Punctuation" -- so I think I can probably do an adequate job with the commas, semicolons, and colons. LOL.

Claire


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 08:44 PM

Pedant on...

""A real split infinitive, though not desirable in itself, is preferable to either of two things, to real ambiguity and to patent artificiality.""

Commas are often wrongfully used (used wrongfully!) where Colons and Semicolons should be used...

viz...

"A real split infinitive, though not desirable in itself, is preferable to either of two things; to real ambiguity and to patent artificiality."

Now in "English as she is spoke", even though they are separate concepts (the full stop, comma, colon and semicolon!) one can usually get away with this laxity, but in Computer programming languages no such promiscuity of "concept smearing" is allowed - if you want the Astronauts to get back alive...

Pedant off....


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Grab
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 05:49 PM

"S" all the way for me, rather than "Z". Dictionaries may say "Z", but I remember that when I was a kid looking up rude words, our dictionary said that "shit" meant "expelling gas from the anus" or some similar phrasing, which kind of exposed how accurate dictionaries sometimes aren't.

McGrath, the problem with "one" is that unless you happen to be a silver-spoon-in-the-gob upper-class individual, it's difficult to get away with saying "if one climbs a mountain". An instruction manual that says "one must insert screw A into hole B" is shouting at the top of its voice, "English is not my first language!".

To be honest, if you do a spelling check in your preferred word processor with the language set to UK English, to filter out "tire" and insert "U" in the appropriate places, it's highly unlikely that there'll be anything wrong. The variations in "English as she is spoke" around the UK are so wide that no-one's ever going to notice. The only difference after that is in things that have different meanings in the two countries - pavement/sidewalk, boot/trunk, etc.. Grammar is really not something you need to worry about.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 05:09 PM

I've never understood "which" and "that". I think of them as interchangeable - but I must use them differently, because WORD keeps on telling me I've doing it wrong, and I always find that the way it wants me to put it feels wrong, so I don't.

Spellings aside, I'm not sure there really is much formal difference between American and English usage, it's more at an individual level, and there are fashions, but I don't think they run along national lines. For example, I tend to prefer using commas pretty extensively. I noticed this when I was reading Lynn Truss's book.

One place where there a national difference though is when it comes to using "one" as a pronoun. In English English it is never right to use any other pronoun along with it. "If one climbs a mountain he can see a long way" can never be right - but I believe in American it could be. But I rather doubt if that would be likely to crop up in a technical manual. (The odd thing is that, if the sentence was "If someone climbs a mountain they can see a long way", that would be fine, but neither "one can" nor "he can" would sound right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:40 PM

Yes I say it with an s.

However I am a brummie and I am assured it sounds like a Z LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:32 PM

Does anyone out there say it with an "s" sound? Letz hear from you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:29 PM

Is is possible the way 'z' or 's' is used depends on the way it is usually pronounced in the culture? I tend to say 'organize' with a hard 'z' sound, but I'm sure others say 'organise' with the softer 's' sound.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tech US to UK English advice please
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:22 PM

I haven't come across that distinction being recommended.

Anyone else?


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