Re: Does hyphenation make reading hard for ESLers?

Subject: Re: Does hyphenation make reading hard for ESLers?
From: Fran Freiman <ffreiman -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 08:38:14 -0600

At 12:55 PM 2/14/96 GMT, Glenda Jeffrey wrote:

>Let's hope that the hyphenation software I use is smarter
>than me.

Why would anyone think so? Hyphenation differs from dictionary to
dictionary, not to mention from British to American English...

Furthermore, dictionaries give *all* the hyphenation possible in a word,
without regard to standard trade publishing practice. It may be correct to
hyphenate rudely as rude-ly, but it's not considered good form to allow a
word to be broken before the last two letters.

Hyphenation software can't take into account what part of speech the
hyphenated word is (and grammar software is highly deficient). And I doubt
that word-processor developers were thinking of any of this when they bought
the hyphenation module. Mostly they were thinking that users will demand
hyphenation in the package ... which one has the most words for the least $?
Or so I imagine, when I see the results of running the hyphenation module.

I work as a free-lance editor for reference book publishers and companies
that produce software and hardware documentation. Hyphenation is a greater
concern of those whose principal occupation is preservation of the language.
Hyphenation software is a wonderful tool, but like most everything else, it
needs tweaking. Trusting it is trusting an imperfect tool--know your tools!

Fran Freiman
ffreiman -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
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