[UA-discuss] Language - how do you refer to non-ASCII to a non-technical audience?

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Wed Aug 3 19:07:14 UTC 2016

On Wed, Aug 03, 2016 at 11:44:07AM -0700, Naomi Pearce wrote:
> I keep tripping up on referring to language being "non-" something.

And again, I'll point out that language is the wrong word, no matter
_what_ you pick.

I'm not being merely bloody-minded here.  Here, for instance, are the
names in the NS set for one of my mail domains:

crankycanuck.ca.	86400	IN	NS	ns3159.dns.dyn.com.
crankycanuck.ca.	86400	IN	NS	ns4152.dns.dyn.com.
crankycanuck.ca.	86400	IN	NS	ns1138.dns.dyn.com.
crankycanuck.ca.	86400	IN	NS	ns2176.dns.dyn.com.

Maybe if you squint, "crankycanuck" is a compound word in English.
"DNS" might be a word, but it's not merely in English: it's the name
of the service, and so it's a word in every language.  Dyn is the name
of my employer, so there again it's not in English.  (Indeed, it's not
in English anyway.  It's pronounced "dine" as in "Dynamic Network
Services", but any English pronunciation rule says it should be
pronounced "din".  In China, I find, it's pronounced "dee-wye-en",
with very little pause where the hyphens are.)  It's quite clear that
ca, com, and nsNNNN are not words in English.

"The writing systems of the whole world" is accurate.  "Your local way
of writing" is accurate.  "The writing systems of many different
languages" is correct.  "Your language" is not, ever, period.


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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