Re: International English

Subject: Re: International English
From: Ian White <ian -at- IFWTECH -dot- DEMON -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 13:08:26 +0000

In article <4dcgtk$4be -at- news -dot- ust -dot- hk>, lucy hyatt wrote:
>DMEYERS -at- jpl -dot- nasa -dot- gov (Diana M. Meyers) wrote:
>>I need information about how to write technical documents in "international
>>English." I am particularly interested in written materials that I can
>>purchase and people that I can talk to. Please respond via
>>e-mail todiana -dot- m -dot- meyers -at- jpl -dot- nasa -dot- gov -dot- Thanks for the help.

>What is "international English"? I work in Asia, and we use either
>British or American English - a mixture is incorrect.

"Incorrect" is far too strong a word, unless you mean an unaware mixture
of British and American usage, in which case I'd thoroughly agree!

The goal of "international English" is to make itself clear to every
reader, regardless of origin. Part of this - but only one part - is to
avoid any regional usage that might not be understandable to everybody,
or might distract attention from the subject matter. Another important
part is to avoid less-common meanings of words, which can be very
confusing to readers for whom English is a second language.

I strongly believe that it is the writer's responsibility to sidestep
any such problems, rather than making choices that would benefit one
group of readers at the expense of others.

Ian White | IFW Technical Services, Abingdon, England
| Clear English for high-technology companies

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