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Re: Getting Emacs to play nice with Hunspell and apostrophes

From: Garreau\, Alexandre
Subject: Re: Getting Emacs to play nice with Hunspell and apostrophes
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 04:21:07 +0200
User-agent: Gnus (5.13), GNU Emacs (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)

On 2014-06-14 at 18:13, Emanuel Berg wrote:
> 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.

As we still do, most of our time.

> 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.

No, we travelled to a common point where colonialism and oppression
imposed English as a poor (for that purpose) international language we
all make decades of more or less hard work to poorly learn (that’s less
visible when we write, but that’s really visible when we speak). While
we could just more think to constructed languages that we make some
weeks or months to perfectly speak (and however, it were demonstrated it
takes less time learning Esperanto and *then* English than just learning
English alone).

> This is the English in the man pages, in the RFCs,

Oh, good point. But let’s agree to disagree on this standard of

> in the C code,

Let’s bet how much time again C will stay around… before we move to
something more powerful (some interesting ideas:
<>), that we could make more
neutral, or even where we could move syntactic representation of content
separated of content itself (like MVC) and move complexity from the
compiler toward the editor (and just letting the compiler doing things
like JIT, native code caching or on-the-fly optimization).

> 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!

Because HTML is not language-neutral. But if you think HTML (and more
generally XML, and even more generally things based on XML like XMPP) is
well made and really efficient, you have some problems.

> 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!

Yes, standards. But standards aren’t necessarily not
language-neutral. Just like TCP/IP *is* a world wide standard and *is*
language-neutral (since it’s binary, for performance and simplicity

> In “Computer English”, the de facto standard is ' and ", and it
> doesn't matter what books anyone read as kids.

Yes it matters, because here we speak English, not a programming
language that’s based on English.

> Because we are not doing that *now*! All of us have moved to a common
> culture which is common for practical reasons

For causes, but not for reasons. Otherwise we would be speaking a Lojban
with a more logical alphabet and base 12.

> — it is not aesthetics or snobbism, it is reality —

It is tradition. But when tradition stays too much time reality we have
a problem.

> and there is no reason whatsoever to fight it.

Efficiency, readability, etc. all these things that help to increase our
every-days freedom.

>>> 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”.

Just as people don’t care about what’s an operating system, a cli, etc.

> It just is,

Yeah, it is magical. Just as people consider computers, you consider
language. Except language is really a more general and important thing
than just “computing”. Because the notion of “language” include many
concept of “computing”.

> 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”

Esperantists, and Lojbanists, and all people working on language are
doing that “arrogant” thing, and they proved it is a lot more practical
than what people do by default —that to say: almost nothing.

> - 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!

Yes it doesn’t, and that’s a reason for changing. Because we’re doing a
lot of unpractical things every days, and changing, “progressing” allows
us to gain more freedom.

>> 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!

No, they’re useless and unpractical, they always were, and they always

>> 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.

Thanks for the idea, I’m going to do the opposite. How did you do?

>> 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.

Just as *calligraphy* didn’t disappear with printer invention. But since
you need *one lifetime* to write a calligraphied big book (let’s say,
some documentation), and since there’s a *looooooot* more interesting
things to do (just like reading all sorts of the really interesting
things human beings can write all across the globe), we just *all* read
printed books.

For the same reasons, we will *almost* (but like calligraphy, some will
continue for the sake of the art, and “snobbism and aesthetics” just
like you like to say) stop to print books as soon as printers will stop
being obsessed with money, editors with proprietary coercion, and
computer makers to not-pluggable OLED screens (planned obsolescence and
profit optimization) and eInk patents.

>> 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.

All this is just studied for readability, to read better, to read
quicker, to read the more. That’s pragmatism.

>>> 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.

But you press AltGr with the thumb, and the thumb is made to be moved
without disturbing the rest of the hand (you know, to *take* objects,
that thing monkeys and primates can and other mammals can’t) so when you
use your thumb to use a modifier it is biomechanically equivalent to
just press one key, not two. That’s the reason why more modifiers should
be near the thumb.

>> 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.

Because they make text more readable and understandable. Then you can
disagree, refuse to see the importance of details, it is your right. But
it is our right to have our software working well for the rest of us,
like we want.

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