Spaced-Out Typing

Subject: Spaced-Out Typing
From: Moshe Koenig <alsacien -at- NETVISION -dot- NET -dot- IL>
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 1996 01:22:24 PDT

E-mail: alsacien -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il
Date: 07/13/96
Time: 22:51:51

After reading so many arguments pro and con, I think that it's safe
to say that single-spacing after a period in languages like English
and French is safe. German is a bit more problematic, however,
because of the widespread use of capitals for every noun; with so
many capitals, extra spacing between sentence helps to identify
"breathing" points.

Although I rarely write any documentation in Hebrew, it is one
language that has no capital letters; in fact, the whole issue of
capitalization mystifies most Israelis learning English, and it
is not uncommon to see correspondence typed in all caps simply
because the typist doing the job may not be an English speaker
and, consequently, cannot know when to capitalize unless the
person dictating can specify where the capitals go -- and often
that person knows no more than the typist. However, Semitic
languages (Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic) lack a tradition of
punctuation in general; the whole notion of punctuating sentences
is a very recent innovation, taken largely from the Europeans
who found the absence of punctuation confusing -- and rightly
so! (These languages also lack vowels, so they are very much an
oral tradition; if you don't speak the languages, you are at a
loss when you learn them as to how to vocalize the words.)

I've had to deal with these problems in four languages, and I'm
the first to admit that it has had its eroding effect. Recently I
found myself enmeshed in an argument over whether to say "click"
or "click on" in a user guide for a Windows application, and I
felt that the necessity for the argument escaped me totally. I
long for the luxury of working in only one language, one in which
I feel totally at home, which is English.

- Moshe

Fin d'émission

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