Registration forms for description changes

Doug Ewell dewell at
Mon Jun 12 08:44:43 CEST 2006

Kent Karlsson <kentk at cs dot chalmers dot se> wrote:

>> Description: [ADD] Norwegian Bokmal
> Pardon me, but I think that is silly. It would be better in this case 
> to actually translate the name to English: "Book Norwegian". While 
> doing that translate also the name for "nn": "New Norwegian". There is 
> no point in repeating the language name ("Norwegian" and "norsk") in 
> the description of "nn". You can have as *alternative* names "bokmål" 
> and "nynorsk" respectively.

As I understood, the goal was to provide ASCII-only variants of names 
that require non-ASCII characters to be spelled correctly, not to 
translate names.  As others have stated, no English speaker who knows 
the difference between Bokmål and Nynorsk would call them anything other 
than "Bokmål" and "Nynorsk."  They may understand that those words mean 
roughly "book language" and "new Norwegian" respectively, but those are 
not the names of the languages.

>> Description: [ADD] Provencal
> The last line: please no. At least I read that as "provenkal"...

Again, it is well understood that some of these names cannot be spelled 
correctly without non-ASCII letters, or would be pronounced differently 
and incorrectly if spelled in pure ASCII.  The goal was to provide 
pure-ASCII versions that users would be able to type from an ASCII-only 
keyboard.  "Provencal" does bring up some Google hits for Provençal.

>> Description: [ADD] Volapuk
> If anything, a better "ASCII-ified" version would be "Volapyk".

The Danish for Volapük does appear to be "Volapyk."  Is this what users 
who are searching for "Volapük" but cannot type the u-with-diaeresis 
would be expected to type instead?  Does this serve the purpose we are 
trying to serve?

>> Description: [ADD] Slave
>> Description: [ADD] Athapascan
> 1) This language is, I gather, now called "Slavey" (plus some other 
> names,
> incl.
> "Dené").
> 2) And, I gather, it is of the "Athapascan" **language family**.
> I.e., the entry for "ath" should have as its description "Athapascan
> langauge (other)"
> (though "other Athapascan language" would be even better...).

If you believe any of the names in the Registry are inaccurate or 
incorrect or incomplete or misleading, we should discuss that issue 
separately.  I feel it is out of scope for this very specific project of 
providing ASCII-only alternative descriptions.

>> Description: [ADD] Provencal, Old (to 1500)
> The last line: please no.

See above.

>> Description: [ADD] Aland Islands
> The last line: please no. Definitely no. And that territory is
> really called "Åland", not "Åland Islands". (Besides, Å is
> phonetically closer to O than to A...)

See above regarding ASCII-folding.

ISO 3166/MA calls it "Åland Islands," so that is what we used.  (The ISO 
3166 names are not always what "real people" would use; I don't know 
anyone who says "Korea, Democratic People's Republic of" instead of 
"North Korea.")

Phonetics aside, do you think people who are constrained to typing in 
ASCII are more likely to type "Aland" or "Oland"?

>> Description: [ADD] Cote d'Ivoire
> The last line: please no. You could translate it to "Ivory Cost".

If it were any old ivory coast, it would be certainly be translated as 
"Ivory Coast."  The official name for the country in western Africa is 
"Côte d'Ivoire."  Both names are used in non-official usage, according 
to Wikipedia, but to add alternative names to the Registry is to begin 
sliding down the slippery slope: "United States of America," "United 
States," "America," "U.S.," "U.S.A.," "The Great Satan," etc.

>> Description: [ADD] Reunion

See above.  If your objection is to the overall premise of adding 
ASCII-only versions of non-ASCII descriptions, it might be best to 
simply state that.

Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California, USA

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