[Melbourne-pm] Internationali[sz]ation

Simon Taylor simon at unisolve.com.au
Wed May 28 22:16:01 PDT 2008

Hello Patrick,

> Hello my fellow monguers,

> I've been designing the API for some code I'm contributing to an open 
> source project (WebGUI), and I've been mulling over the use of English 
> alternative spelling in my code/documentation/file names/etc..
> The majority of developers on this project are based in America, and 
> while I'm no zealot when it comes to preserving the Queen's English I 
> do find it takes a certain amount of effort to not start convulsing 
> whenever I encounter the word "instanciate" in the source.
> So, I'm wondering what to do in my code. My heart just isn't in the 
> 'z' and I miss the absent 'u's, but then again I've long since gotten 
> used to writing "color" tags in html, so should I just bite the bullet 
> and name my "authorization" methods accordingly? What do you do when 
> you are involved in international projects? Should I just shut my eyes 
> to it and think of the developers from non English-speaking 
> backgrounds? Or just shut my eyes and think about Engla.. oh wait 
> that's not right.

I have thought about this long and hard and my 10c worth is that our 
cultural inclination to feel protective of British
spelling is mis-placed.

Of course it *is* right to do all we can to stop US culture rampaging 
across the things we hold dear, whether it's
our local films, the businesses we buy from, the authors we read or our 

But I'm firmly of the view that we could switch to US English tomorrow 
and not miss out on a single cultural thing that

Culture is substrate-neutral, and the things that make our culture 
better, (IMHO), don't rely on spelling to have the
effect they do.

It's a peculiar quirk of history that British English has ended up being 
the odd cousin, with it's French influences
and quirky spellings, whilst US English is by far cleaner and more 

We moved effortlessly to the metric system because of our culture, (even 
if we spell 'metre' the French way), and the US
has not manged this transition because of theirs.

But no matter how you dice it, their spelling is better....

- Simon


More information about the Melbourne-pm mailing list