[Mailman-Users] English (USA)

Stephen J. Turnbull turnbull.stephen.fw at u.tsukuba.ac.jp
Tue Jul 9 13:00:53 EDT 2019

Norbert Bollow writes:

 > On some of those lists, it is really strongly desirable to actively
 > encourage the list's participants to see themselves as an
 > international community, in particular as a community where US
 > centric perspectives are not privileged over other perspectives.

Claiming that labeling US dialect as such is US-centric seems
backwards to me.  As I argued earlier, labeling it as "English" looks
like linguistic imperialism (setting up US English as "standard"
English), whereas labeling it "English (USA)" is both truth in
labeling and an acknowledgment that US English is no more than a

That said, it's true that the only US-ism I see in the current message
catalog is a half-dozen instances of -ize (vs. -ise), where -ize is
correct for Americans but AFAIK British, Canadians, and Australians
consider -ize quaint but acceptable.  So if somebody wants to go to
the trouble of being the "generic English" "translator" and make sure
that the catalog avoids gratuitous[1] dialect-specific spelling and
idioms, now and going forward, it shouldn't require too much effort.
To give you an idea, it took me about 45 minutes to scan a Mailman 2
.po file.  It would probably take about 75-90 minutes to be thorough
the first time, and after that the "translator" would just look at
diffs, which would take much less time.

I'd support the change for Mailman 3 if we were confident that the
message catalog is reasonably dialect-neutral and going to stay that
way, and if somebody else does the work.  This could be implemented
either by keeping the source message strings "generic", or by having
actual .po/.mo files for "English".  The latter looks more convenient
for the "translator".

 > But I haven't ever gotten around to cleaning this up into a real
 > patch as suggested by the OP.

As Mark points out, this change constitutes an imposition on the
translators (some of whom actively dislike having others make changes
to "their" translations) and on any users whose translations don't get
updated for some reason (eg, they've got local changes to their .po
files).  I would completely support Mark if he decides not to accept
the change in Mailman 2.


[1] For example, use of "authorize" and "personalize" wouldn't be
considered "gratuitous" because they're technical terms which are hard
to avoid, and because that spelling is acceptable everywhere, although
British, Canadian, and Australian readers probably prefer "-ise".

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