[tz] zone.tab comments Canada - places -> locations [OT - English]

Brian Inglis Brian.Inglis at SystematicSw.ab.ca
Fri May 11 03:41:34 UTC 2012

On 2012-05-10 09:20, Tobias Conradi wrote:
> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM, John Haxby<john.haxby at oracle.com>  wrote:
>> On 10/05/12 05:06, Tobias Conradi wrote:
>>> Current:
>>> tzdata2012c/zone.tab
>>> America/Halifax       Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia (most places), PEI
>>> America/Glace_Bay     Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia - places that did not
>>> observe DST 1966-1971
>>> America/Nipigon       Eastern Time - Ontario&  Quebec - places that did not
>>> observe DST 1967-1973
>>> Proposed:
>>> America/Halifax       Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia (most locations), PEI
>>> America/Glace_Bay     Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia - locations that did not
>>> observe DST 1966-1971
>>> America/Nipigon       Eastern Time - Ontario&  Quebec - locations that did
>>> not observe DST 1967-1973
>>> Reason:
>>> Harmonize.
>>> Theory uses "locations" (9x) more often than "places" (2x)
>>> zone.tab uses "place" only thrice, namely within the comments field of
>>> the three above zone for Canada.
>>> zone.tab uses "location" more than 20x.
>> No.
> No what?
>>    A native English speaker (like me) would not swap "place" for
>> "location" here unless you meant specific points within those regions.
> A)
> It is undefined in your sentence what you mean by "specific point", so
> I cannot tell whether I meant that.
> Maybe you who claims to be a native English speaker can explain the
> difference between
> a) "location" as in
> "Central Standard Time - Saskatchewan - most locations"
> and
> b) "place" as in
> "Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia (most places), PEI"
> to those readers on the mailing list that don't see one, but would
> like to do so in case there is one?
> B)
> 1) Concise Oxford English Dictionary
> 2)
> http://dictionary.reference.com
> 3)
> "locations" in my proposal was meant as plural.

English distinguishes between the dictionary meanings or denotations of 
words and the connotations derived from context and usage (which differs 
from use, in that it implies the psychological overtones and undertones 
resulting from idiom and literary tradition).
Other languages are often described as logical when contrasted to English.

> C)
> I mean and meant location as in zone.tab
> "Central Standard Time - Saskatchewan - most locations"
> D)
> I mean and meant location as in Theory file:

Use of location in Theory refers to a specific place to be used as the 
time zone name.

Use of places in zone.tab comments refers to the general locales where 
the same time zone is observed around the specific location used for the 
time zone name; locations should probably be replaced by places.

>> You might say "locales" instead of "places"
> http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/locale
> a place or locality, especially with reference to events or
> circumstances connected with it.
> I think, if "places" is unambiguous and precise, Tobias Conradi, a
> non-native English speaker, wouldn't say "locales" instead of "places"
> in technical documentation when referring to places/locations on the
> planet earth.

Time zones loosely define geographical locales in a political entity 
where the same time has been observed since some epoch, and are 
attributes of cultural locales: it is a political expression of a 
cultural artifact.

>> but that would be odd as
>> that meaning of locale is confusing
>> if you're anywhere near anything to
>> do with computers.
> Indeed.
>> One could argue that there is a case for
>> simplifying sentences and language,
> Agreed.
>> but that would generally avoid choosing
>> shorter, simpler words (place) over longer ones (location).
> Disagreeing. Me, a non-native English speaker, I would contest that
> simplifying sentences and language would generally avoid shorter words
> (place) over longer ones (location).
> But me - a non-native English speaker - I would try to avoid choosing
> different words for same meanings in a technical specification or
> documentation. I would try to be consistent and to use same words for
> same meanings. I would also try to define words. For the tzdb project
> I would try to define "location" in the Theory file.
> /Everything else - beside word length - being equal/ I would support
> replacing longer words with shorter words.

In any language, the meanings of different words, which may have the 
same (simple) dictionary definition, are rarely the same (compare to a 
full reference dictionary or thesaurus), simplification is not a simple 
task, and word length is unrelated to accuracy of expression.
Other languages have different words which are translated into the same 
English word e.g. French verbs savoir and connaitre become know in 
English: French speakers would have difficulty with English speakers 
unable to grasp the difference, and would never replace connaitre by 
savoir in any context!
For examples from German literature see

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