Let's start a movement! was: Re: Microsoft Manual of Style question

Subject: Let's start a movement! was: Re: Microsoft Manual of Style question
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 09:36:17 +0300

> From: kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com>

> The style guide we use (that I wrote) calls for "email" but I was thinking
> the other day that when this is extended to "ereader" it doesn't work as
> well as "e-reader". I crave consistency!
> Chris

When it comes to English as a constantly-evolving language, be careful
that you do't fall prey to that which Emerson observed:
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by
little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
(from Essays. First Series. Self-Reliance)

Consistency within a particular document or a firm's series of
documents is fine, but expecting consistency over time as language
changes is a futile hope, much to the chagrin of many of us.

Prepnding "e" in place fo the former "electronic" is no more confusing
than the ubiquitous "i" in place of "Internet"--although one might
wonder why a hyphen rather than an apostrophe for omitted material?

(I know--let's start a fashion and make it "e'mail"!)

Personally, I believe we should start a formal movement to regularize
and simplify English spelling. Wouldn't it be better to get in front
of a trend that is happening anyway, rather than trying to fight a
rearguard action that is ultimately doomed to failure?

In my opinion, replacing the current miasma of arcane rules that still
must in many cases be reduced to a memorization task involving all the
exceptions with a far more phonetic spelling would surely be a boon to
students of all ages, and particularly for those learning English as a
second language. It would also fit right in with all those of the IM
and Twitter generation, as well as being environmentally helpful by
reducing the amount of printing ink and paper used.

Of course, it would also greatly contribute to consistency...


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