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Re: Getting Emacs to play nice with Hunspell and apostrophes

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: Getting Emacs to play nice with Hunspell and apostrophes
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2014 18:13:27 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Yuri Khan <address@hidden> writes:

>>> Curly quotes (and, in Russian print tradition,
>>> double angle quotes) are what I am used to seeing in
>>> print and consider to be the correct way to write
>> OK, I believe you. However, the point I made with all
>> people coming from different cultures is that it
>> doesn't matter where we are from individually. When I
>> went to school, I suppose I was most comfortable with
>> Swedish. But I'm not supposing we all switch to
>> Swedish!
> OK, so what? I expect that people of all cultures who
> were exposed to books printed before the advent of
> the computer and the word processor are used to
> typographic characters.

I'm OK disagreeing but I want you to understand me. The
point is: the cultures are in this discussion
irrelevant. If the cultures were what decided things
you should be speaking Russian and I Swedish. We don't,
because we have travelled to a common point so that
when we interact in the computer world, we are using
the "Computer English" language, which I have described
several times now. This is the English in the man
pages, in the RFCs, in the C code, in the HTML, and all
that. In this language you don't write <mitten> if you
are Swedish, <centre> if you are British, etc., *all*
write <center>, otherwise it doesn't work! Likewise, to
quote in Usenet post we use >, to double quote, >>, and
so on; to mark where the signature starts we use --,
because otherwise highlighting/hiding of the
quotes/signature doesn't work, because the clients are
looking for those specific chars! In "Computer
English", the de facto standard is ' and ", and it
doesn't matter what books anyone read as kids. Because
we are not doing that *now*! All of us have moved to a
common culture which is common for practical reasons -
it is not aesthetics or snobbism, it is reality - and
there is no reason whatsoever to fight it. It only
creates exactly the problems as was the very reason the
OP had to write to this list.

>> OK, that's a ridiculous example as it is extreme,
>> while what we discuss now is perhaps trivial (' or
>> ) - but in principle it is the same. The computer
>> language is English, and as I showed - the man pages
>> for ls and emacs, as well as the RFC excerpt, as
>> well as all experience with mails and Usenet and
>> programming culture - all show that in "Computer
>> English", ' (not ) is correct.
> They are that way because they were written in the
> dark age of ten thousand code pages and never updated
> to Unicode.

It doesn't matter. That's the way it is. Like the
sentence I just wrote. I don't care why the English
word for "way" is "way". It just is, and it is very,
very unpractical and extremely arrogant for anyone to
say, I don't like it to be "way", for no reason
whatsoever save for aesthetics (which isn't a consensus
by the way) I like it to be "yaw" - and the argument
for changing, is that there are (of course!) historical
roots for the word "way" being "way" - if someone had
thought about it really hard (and exactly like me,
today) he or she would have decided the word for "way"
should be "yaw" --- it doesn't make any sense!

> They exist *because* there was a certain technical
> limitation in the last fifty years or so. Since this
> limitation has been removed, there is no reason for
> them.

They do not exist because there was a technical
limitation fifty years ago. They exist, today, because
they are useful, today!

> I believe users of the VGA text console are
> intelligent beings and respect their decision to
> suffer.

Forget it. I have Gnus configured to transparently
replace your goofy chars with the correct ones.

> Otherwise, primarily, the material will be read by a
> human being, and only secondarily in a computer
> program. I wish for a future where the Web replaces
> the printed book


> therefore, the Web must do all things books do, and
> then some.

The web can already do that in principle but that
doesn't mean books, papers, libraries, and so on will
disappear. That's a horrible thought but luckily it
won't happen.

> If I have to read a printed document, every straight
> quote, every hyphen used in place of a dash, every
> uneven space, pulls me out of the flow. The only way
> for me to stop thinking about the characters is if
> they are exactly as in a book typeset by a skilled
> typesetter on a pre-computer-era press.

Yes, this is only snobbism and aesthetics for the sake
of it. This is what I have expected from day one. Yes,
LaTeX can produce very good looking documents and I
have spent countless of hours in that department - but
that you isn't able to read a book without it is just -
I don't know. It is not reality. In reality you read
what you have to read.

>> when you program and write in English (like now),
>> don't you use the US keyboard layout? That's what I
>> do to get the brackets and the semicolon and all
>> that with no fuss - it is not that I use the Swedish
>> chars that much, anyway! (Which is again the whole
>> point.)  And with the US layout, ' (and so on) are
>> easier to type than the chars you suggest.
> The difference between ' and AltGr+' is almost
> negligible for me.

We don't have to "almost" that: ' is one key, AltGr+'
is two.

> I do understand we have engaged in a holy war not
> directly related to the original posters
> problem. Lets agree to disagree.

The OP had a problem because he used the incorrect
chars. While the spellchecker still should cope, I
still haven't heard one argument that makes sense why
anyone should benefit from those goofy chars.

underground experts united:

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