Re: the Queen's English

Subject: Re: the Queen's English
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 15:35:47 PST

On Sat, 2 Dec 1995 15:17:31 EST you wrote:

> I agree; it makes no sense to create different versions of a product for the
>UK, Australia, Canada, and so on, and I don't believe most people in those
>countries really care. They are quite used to books, products, movies, and so
>on from the United States. My books are sold in the UK, Canada, and Australia,
>without modification, and I see no reason that they should be modified. And of
>course many British books are sold in this country without modification, too.

One alternative, if one is concerned about "proper" usage for publications
going oversees, might be to add a "disclaimer" to the foreword, TOC, or
glossary (oh look, there's that "American" serial comma :) to the effect of
"This publication was produced in <country> and as such uses terms and
language structure common in <country>".

The publisher of one very popular series of automotive shop manuals is
British, and includes in the front of each book, a table listing British terms
used in the book and their American counterparts (ie. bonnet = hood, tyres =
tires, petrol = gasoline, etc.)

> (BTW, I do have a problem with the terms "America" and "American", though I
>use them myself now and again. When I lived in Mexico I had a friend who was a
>receptionist at a hotel in Mexico city. She told me that when guests would
>call the reception and ask to make a call to "America" she would say, "You're
>in America, sir; which country would you like?" I wish there was a convenient
>alternative, as there is in Mexico: estadonidense" [I think that's the
>spelling], which means "United Statien". Though that term's slightly
>ambiguous, too, as the full name of Mexico is "The United States of Mexico".)

"America" as a place is kind of ambiguous, but it does seem to be general
international convention that "Americans" are people from the United States of
America (just as Mexicans are from the United States of Mexico?)

> In fact many in the United States were worse off; black Americans suffered an
Shouldn't that be African-Americans? Would calling a dark-skinned person
from, say, Panama, "African-American" then be redundant, and not very accurate
anyway if he/she isn't actually from Africa anyway? (Amusing side note:
someone once referred to Tuvok, one of the characters from Star Trek: Voyager,
as an "African-American Vulcan". Funny, I didn't know Vulcan had an Africa
*or* an America :)

Sorry, that's my anti-PC rant for the day.

Your friend and mine,
Matt Ion
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