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Re: Emacs i18n

From: Alexandre Garreau
Subject: Re: Emacs i18n
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2021 09:31:53 +0200

Le mercredi 21 juillet 2021, 08:11:36 CEST Emanuel Berg via Users list for 
the GNU Emacs text editor a écrit :
> Alexandre Garreau wrote:
> >> Anglo-American beat French to world dominance, accept it.
> > 
> > Nobody told in this thread French had any world dominance.
> > Although you may note that the concern about english is
> > often raised by french people
> They are the ONLY people who EVER brings this up.

ok so what? that a french says something does not make it automatically 
wrong.  and if you already contradicted other frenches in the same way 
well we are not all connected through a shared mind so you cannot expect 
us to learn that once for all.

> > and maybe for some sort of inconscious nationalism or
> > rempent national aversion toward english due to that
> > previous context, the concern stays valid, and you cannot
> > cancel an argument validity due to the people who raise it.
> We WANT the French-speaking people, and they are here already
> as we clearly see, but this isn't the 70s anymore where there
> were one "expert" on the same subject in every god damned
> country who had read a couple of 12 books on the subject and
> wrote a nice summary on in, resembling pretty much exactly
> what some other dude did in some other country reading his 12
> books! The langauge of science and technology IS English, it
> if had been French I would have written the same thing, only
> in defense of French - but it _isn't_ French, and everyone
> understands that - even the French, as we clearly see - but
> unlike everyone else, the French pretends or do not accept
> this in some places of their minds, so they bring this up over
> and over, #$&%@!

indeed, so nobody is arguing about that, so why bring it on?

> >> There is no miniature world of computers where everyone
> >> speaks French or any other language who badly needs
> >> translations, drop it.
> > 
> > There is
> THERE IS NOT, and whatever fraction there is is getting
> smaller by the day, it isn't a place were you yourself would
> like to be restricted to, so why ever would you like that for
> your compatriots that are, BTW, fully capable of learning
> English just like everyone else?

some people don’t, sometimes by inability (yet I can concede that ability 
is usually very connected with the needed abilities to be competent in CS… 
yet there is (unfortunately?) a strong pressure to put more people inside 
CS than the quantity of people that may be competent in it), sometimes 
hindered by some psychological issue (btw that same kind of issues is what 
drives many people away from CS, especially womyns… yet these are 

> In fact, the French language
> is much closer to English than a lot of other languages, there
> is no disadvantage at all in any sense or in anyway, and we
> see this every day when we speak English to people from the
> French-speaking world!

our languages are equally unspokable with unneededly complex phonology, 
unlike most languages on the earth, also

> > not only in france, but any non-germanic place I have been
> > through. English, just like french, is a difficult language
> No, because of popular culture, technology, and proximity of
> languages it is very easy for anyone these days to learn
> English, if the have any ambitions whatsoever with science and
> technology they already know English before they even enter
> the university?

I guess according that viewpoint of yours many people entering university 
just do without “ambitions”, so we should bar that from them.

english may be, because of its dominance, a lot facilitated, but in 
comparison with many languages it is difficult, mostly because of its 
phonology and imprecision.  but french is equally bad about that.  if it 
had been mandarin or russian I’d find it better (but if you start talking 
about tones or number of verb forms and how that would make that 
impossible, you would get the point the same issue arise with english 
making it somehow impossible for some people).

> > with lot of vocabulary. You’re living is a small-world
> > utopia that’s nowhere near even realistic.
> We live in the same world of science and technology where the
> language is English, maybe it made sense in the 70-80s to
> translate the man pages or whatever (the French were the only
> ones who got close BTW, that said French programmers today are
> typically _not_ using that old, incomplete, un-updated stuff
> were you have to wonder -

I swear they do

> even if it was perfect, which it is
> not and cannot be, so no disrespect to the translators

you are doing the very opposite from respect telling their work is 
negative :') but well everybody should be allowed to tell a whole 
discipline is useless or even negative, who knows that may be right (I 
usually think that way about english teachers (I mean, people speaking 
english for real never do that because of teachers, that’s so much money 

> - even it
> if was perfect they'd still have to wonder about what
> everything is, what is interface,


> hash algorithm, 

algorithme de hachage

> API,

the english term is just used (but pronounced in french), but it seems to 
be used only in modern context or by younger people, in other cases 
“interface” (or the translation of library, by metonymy)

> proxy,

used as is

> client-server,

those words are from french

> raster,

used as is

> shading langauge,


> checksum,

often same, otherwise “somme de contrôle” when you want to sound formal

> compression with the
> use
> of tagged chunks, Alice and Bob in French? why aren't the
> English-language software options congruent with ... wait,
> what terms are we using, even? The French or the English?
> (Oh, I know Alice and Bob - Abelard et Héloïse, n'est-ce pas?)

Alice is commonly used in France, but not Bob (yet it is known), so we use 
them as well when explaining cryptography (same for Eve (though most 
frenchs aren’t aware about the pun with “evesdropping”), etc.), the last 
two french names sound from the past century.

I mean most languages, especially with technology, just do that: copy 
words.  That’s precisely why 75% of english vocabulary comes from french, 
whose a great part comes straight from latin, whose a great part comes 
straight from greek, whose some part comes from egyptian (or other semitic 
language at some other point of time)…

I mean, when two people in a country speaking the same language need to 
talk about their discipline, do you really believe they use english? 
orally? that would be extremely painful, even if both often are fluent, and 
write most of their stuff in english, and publish only in english.

the fact technology globalize (and it always have) doesn’t makes languages 

capitalism added to imperialism and nationalism eventually makes languages 
disappear, but france has purposedly made disappear enough languages so 
for it to be obvious.

> > Even those who *fluently* speak english are commonly *tired*
> > with it.
> No, that is true only in the initial, beginner phase,

I’m speak english fluently since a decade, you pretend I speak it well, and 
yet it makes me tired, for real.

some languages are less tiring than others, spanish and russian are kinda 
okay, but english is really tiring because I *all the time* try to 
pronounce stuff correctly, which is of course impossible, and a huge 
distraction, and I could just try to make up some weird pseudo-italian 
accent that would look russian and I would be less distracted but it 
sounds weird enough that I quickly resume back to trying to fake original 
english accent and here we go…

I’m not the only one, I mean you are trying to counterargument very very 
very obvious stuff and wasting most of your credit to any english-non-
native reader u.u

> then on
> the contrary one gets tired of reading it in a language that
> is _foreign_ to it,

to what?

> the _native_ language is always the best
> and the native language in the science and technology world is
> English, US English in particular.

native in this context does not mean anything. in linguistics, sociology, 
demography, history, etc. native has a very specific meaning, and you are 
trying to borrow a weird meaning, most likely from a metaphor inside CS, 
except it is conflicting with some other science so it’s not understandable 

> > Even I, and actually anybody because that’s natural, would
> > choose to read something in their native(s) language(s)
> > rather than a foreign one
> English isn't foreign here, it is the native language of
> the field.

and yet I can’t be sure you’re right or trolling me about the meaning of 

understand “non-native to said person” if you prefer… my point still 

> > Just to be sure, you’re a native speaker of english right?
> Hahaha :) Are you kidding, I'm Swedish!

well at least that’s still a germanic language u.u and english is a lot 
more common in your countries than in latin ones (and in these it is still 
more than anywhere else)

> That said, these
> rantings are to be put on my account solely, I'm sure many of
> my countrymen who reads this thinks I'm insane or something...
> ha :)

well it is reassuring that you’re aware of the level of the point you’re 
trying to make, at least I won’t generalize anything and keep in mind that 
it’s only you saying that, because otherwise it would have been very 
desperating u.u (I mean for instance lately I’ve had a “chance” to speak 
to a lot more extreme-right-wing ppl, and I wouldn’t wanted another such 

> > or have you tried to work in mandarin
> This instant, in another buffer I have a friend on IRC from

wait what’s roc?

> and he speaks better English than me (he thinks that at
> least :)) and I was a CS student when Sweden offered courses
> free of charge (now they do that only to EU contrives) so every
> course, taught in English, was like 50% people from China!
> I lived in a student house for 7 years with a configuration of
> Chinese people ALWAYS present at one time or the other,
> EVERYONE spoke English, all the books were in English, exams
> were in English, the Chinese guys were sometimes a weird bunch
> to deal with on an everyday basis but the problem was _never_
> their or mine or anyone else's (certainly not the French who
> were also there, but in much smaller numbers) NO ONE had any
> problem whatsoever with the English, trust me!

you realize you (a) did not answer about mandarin, (b) that this cannot be 
representative in any way, because china already holds more than a eigth 
of current humankind right?

> > on the ground that its syntax is said to be simple and
> > flexionless, to say it’s as easy as in your native language?
> I'm not saying I or anyone else is as good with English as we
> are with our own languages,

it sometimes really looked like it.  I guess you must admit some “small 
areas of exception”, but not acknowledging the tire of speaking a 
different-from-native language really looks like it…

> except for when speaking of one
> thing - technology. The language is of course not perfect, how
> could it ever be, but it is "good enough for government work",
> good enough for the intended purpose. (I don't think my
> English as in English in general is that good actually, maybe
> my ROC friend is right.)
> > otherwise, do you have studies showing the opposite?
> We don't need studies, we have something stronger, reality.

oh ok it’s a joke, haha ^^

> > There are everywhere teachings of CS in english *as
> > a special matter*, that’s a way to *train* for english
> > because that training is *needed* because it is nonnatural,
> > and it is a difficulty and people try lowering it by
> > confronting to it... yet most of courses are in the national
> > language, not english.
> Not here. But that's OK, I'm not saying all universities that
> teach technology must necessarily do everything in English
> this very instant.

can’t wait all germanic languages extinguish into english so at least that 
kind of argument won’t be held anymore.  maybe one or two generations 
would be sufficient…

> But that's were we are heading anyway.
> In the 70s everyone wrote their PhDs in their own languages.

I bet ukrainians unfortunately didn’t do that in ukrainian…

> Now people even write their BSc in English. There will only be
> more and more of this and that's a good thing. Those who don't
> will be at a disadvantage.

even doing it, not having english as a native language puts you at a 
disadvantage.  just look at the native language of most current 

actually the best thing would be “just get born into an english-speaking 
country”, tbh. but this has been said a lot of times.

> Those who do not know _any_ English
> will be at such a disadvantage they won't be able to
> contribute or acquire information in a way that make them even
> belong, sorry.

belong to what?

I’m sure there are people in korea and china doing very relevant work in 
technology, that is only afterwards translated into english.

> > Some vocabulary obviously comes from english, and
> > englishisms are present more often than not, but the
> > grammar, phonology, orthography, syntax, and most of
> > vocabulary we use stay our national (or even sometimes, with
> > luck (that means not in france) the local one) language.
> Yes, of course, but it isn't about that, it is about English
> as a tool to communicate about technology, it isn't about the
> beauty of the language,

I didn’t bring that on in this paragraph

> I'm sure some of the things I write
> would make a Grammar School teacher blush, but that's OK, it
> is at this point unavoidable and perhaps that will always be
> like that, even, but even now and long before I write this
> people have collaborated on zillion projects speaking English -
> and French and Russian also, and Swedish even - only these
> languages didn't make it to the #1 position that English has,
> right here and right now - so instead of translating, if you
> want to help "your" people (not necessary IMO, but OK) what
> you should do is became English _teachers_,

this is a despiceable job.  you learn a language by using it, not by 
studying it.  writing interesting material in the said language is more 
productive than teaching it.  also language teaching is extremely bad in 
this country, and nobody exactly understands why (but possibly because of 
french and how french people relate to it (that may explain why many 
french people bring that on))
> > emacs is only for programmers and CS-ists
> Yes, but it is much, much broader than that, you don't have to
> be a programmer, it is enough to have a smartphone and
> smart-TV and god damn computer, this has already contributed
> A LOT to how people speak English, Germans at 20 for example
> speak much better English than I did, when I was 20 (and then
> I thought Germans couldn't speak English at all, maybe), so
> NO, it is not necessary for you to be an Emacs user or
> programmer, everyone that uses technology is benefited
> tremendously for knowing English and it works both ways,
> technology makes you better at English (ordinary English,
> between humans) as well, because English is not the langauge
> of just nations like the US, England <3, Australia <3 and so
> on

the term you are searching for is “US + commonwealth”.

> it is also the language of TECHNOLOGY, so make people
> COME, don't work on things that will make them NOT COME @%&#$!

actually I don’t care, to me anything of value will be translated in the 
needed language (be it english) eventually, and the disadvantages is small 
and not worth the effort.

I would think differently if languages weren’t disappearing at a faster 
pace than we are registering them (and understanding them, as linguistics 
as a human science is still incomplete and unable to fully restore 
languages features), and/or if the dominant language was less horrible 
than english or french (russian, esperanto, quechua, or korean would be 
enough), so that’s partly esthetics indeed, *here*

But that’s happening anyway! and translation is a hard and difficult and 
tiresome work, so… your discourse is pretty useless I think… given the 
direction in which we are heading, I think you would be a lot more 
productive and useful if you spent all that time arguing about how we can 
totally get rid of biodiversity with that being a great thing.

> > That would be the kind of "user-friendliness", btw, that may
> > have an effective impact on making more women or minorities
> > join CS, and moreover less occidental, as that concern has
> > come more into fashion recently.
> Women are already almost 100% binary


> and they are better at
> communicating than men some would say so they would have no
> problem because of the English language to join the tech world

that reasoning is unconvincing

> As for minorities that have historically had a position of
> disadvantage the more technology and the more English to them
> the better!

this looks like “let’s get the rich richers and the poorer people will 
naturally get some more money so the inequality problem will be solved”, 
this reasoning is broken.

> PS. ha :) stop it...

that could count both ways…

PS: that trolling is becoming amusing, the caricature you are building 
could be a very efficient strawman, I’m thinking about conserving and 
pointing at that discussion later (but carefully, I don’t want to tarnish 
emacs’ reputation)

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