OT: Variations in English WAS: Non-English compilers(was: RM COBOL with ISAM files

OT: Variations in English WAS: Non-English compilers(was: RM COBOL with ISAM files

Post by Pete Dashw » Fri, 16 Jul 2010 08:45:02

listair wrote:

Personally, I prefer the KJV to the modern English version, but that's just
me. There is a richness in the language which modern English is losing, but,
given that the purpose of language is primarily communication (secondarily
as entertainment and art), then there was a need for a new version if the
Bible was to remain relevant to today's generation. (I don't intend to
discuss whether it SHOULD be relevant to ANY generation... my comments are
purely about the language.)

Anyone who has ever read the Bible in German knows that that is the language
God speaks.

The power and might of a Supreme Being is conveyed much better, (especially
when read aloud), by the sounds of the Teutonic. I was looking for some
bedtime reading in a hotel room in Dusseldorf one night and found a Bible
placed by the Gideons. I started reading Genesis in German and it made the
hair on the back of my neck stand up in a way I have never experienced
during private reading, or even a church service in English. :-)

As for American spellings, I have Word 2007 set to use an English
dictionary, because I got a bit tired of being told that "organisation" was
spelled incorrectly, or that I couldn't say "focussed". Apart from that, it
doesn't bother me in the least and I think the American rational approach to
English is fine. I find myself sometimes using American spellings and mixing
them with English ones. I don't think it matters.

For me, literature is important and there is some beautiful literature (and
poetry) written in American; the different usage in no way diminishes the

All languages that are in common use are subject to change over time. Modern
German (Hochdeutsch) is not the same as German 400 years ago (although it is
closer than the English of today is to the English of Shakespeare's time),
neither is modern Spanish and French. Language has to adapt to changing
environments and perceptions. New words have to be added and older words
which are not so frequently used get lost. Sometimes words which nobody
knows the meaning of any more get carried through into modern idiom through
figures of speech ("hoist with his own petard") or the original meaning has
changed or gets "mistranslated" into modern idiom ("the exception which
proves the rule"). In this way old words get kept alive and it is no bad

Sadly, for many people, English is a tedious subject which they tried to
ignore at school when rules of Grammar were pounded into them or they were
forced to read Shakespeare and couldn't understand much of it. I was
watching Polanski's production of MacBeth a couple of nights ago and was
simply entranced by it. He has edited the original play and carefully cut
some 500 lines from it, but has interpreted Shakespeare's stage directions
in a wonderful and original way. (At one point, the witches are required to
"disappear into the Earth". Most productions do this with trapdoors or smoke
and mirrors; Polanski has them open a door and walk into a Highland style
turf cottage. Brilliant! This production was financed by Playboy back in the
seventies so there is some nudity, which doesn't distract from the story. I
never got to see Diana Rigg naked as Lady Macbeth, on stage at the Old Vic
in 1972, (one of the very few regrets I allow myself :-)), but Francesca
Annis is no less attractive and does a good job in the role with and without

OT: Variations in English WAS: Non-English compilers(was: RM COBOL with ISAM files

Post by Howard Bra » Fri, 16 Jul 2010 23:09:19

On Thu, 15 Jul 2010 11:45:02 +1200, "Pete Dashwood"

Spell checker technology is lacking a lot - but who's going to put in
a lot of work to make it better?

With your German familiarity - how do German spell checkers handle its
compound words?

I'd like to combine English and American dictionaries because I mix
word - I don't want "theatre" to be marked as wrong when I use it. But
then I also use foreign language words.

Features I'd like to see in a spell checker:
1. A dialog which opens when I add a word that would allow me to
tell it part of speech, whether it is a proper noun, acceptable
plurals, tenses, etc.
2. The ability to have phrases treated as words. (Some spell
checkers will recognize "blu-ray", others don't. I want "hors
d'oeuvre" to be recognized, but only as a single word).
3. The ability to create my own "bad spelling" - if I always spell
"hors d'oeuvre" as "orderb", then remember that when trying to guess.
4. Group dictionaries that apply to projects.
5. Jargon dictionaries that apply to your company.
6. Document dictionaries that apply to a novel or a directory of
stories or novels.
7. Context dictionaries. Maybe a news reader knows whether I am in
a movie discussion or a golf discussion to question whether I meant
"Jack Nicklaus" or "Jack Nicholson". Maybe looks of "golfer" or
"actor" in the sentence.
8. Updateable rules in the grammar checker (that might apply to a
particular dictionary).

"In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found,
than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace
to the legislature, and not to the executive department."

- James Madison


OT: Variations in English WAS: Non-English compilers(was: RM COBOL with ISAM files

Post by Pete Dashw » Sat, 17 Jul 2010 09:13:22

These days I don't write much German. I keep in touch with German friends by
Skype video. I don't remember ever using a German spell checker. I'm sure
there are people in the forum who do though. Perhaps someone from Germany
could comment?

Yes, I think that would be a good idea. Have the checker check BOTH
spellings, and allow either (but make it configurable if you didn't want

Some really good ideas there, Howard, and it would be the Mother of all
Spell Checkers... :-)

As you say, it is unlikely anyone will invest to that extent.

"I used to write COBOL...now I can do anything."

OT: Variations in English WAS: Non-English compilers(was: RM COBOL with ISAM files

Post by docdwar » Sat, 17 Jul 2010 21:44:00

In article < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >,



No need to be so dark-cloudy about it, Mr Dashwood... perhaps these
modifications will be easier once compilers accept the DWIM (Do What I
Mean) imperative.

('No, no, over *there* it is supposed to be 'Manhattan Class Company
Theater Offices' and over *here* it is supposed to be 'Manhattan Repetory
Theatre'... why can't this spell-checker Do What I Mean?')