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RE: [css-fonts] "Irregardless"? REALLY?

From: Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 12:39:21 -0500
To: "'Tab Atkins Jr.'" <jackalmage@gmail.com>, "'Brad Kemper'" <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Cc: "'Eric A. Meyer'" <eric@meyerweb.com>, "'www-style'" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001401ca7376$635db060$2a191120$@com>
On Wednesday, December 02, 2009 11:48 AM, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:

>I still think "regardless" is a better word choice there.

I've been using "irregardless" in casual conversation my whole life.
I suspect - no hard research done - its usage is primarily regional. (New York)
Hence, perhaps that's why Eric Meyer spotted it as non-standard all the way from Cleveland. ;)
Dictionary.com pegs it's coinage as early 20th century and that fits in with my speculation that the word originated with non-native immigrant speakers.

"Regardless" is nicely neutral. "Irrespective" has echoes of a judgmental "disrespect" that I don't think fits the context here.

I vote for "regardless". Does the job, language-wise.

Regards,

rich

-----Original Message-----
From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Tab Atkins Jr.
Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2009 11:48 AM
To: Brad Kemper
Cc: Eric A. Meyer; www-style
Subject: Re: [css-fonts] "Irregardless"? REALLY?

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On Dec 2, 2009, at 8:01 AM, Eric A. Meyer wrote:
>
>>   So just last night, I was reading up on 'font-size'adjust' (3.7) and stumbled into the following bit of prose:
>>
>>   "It does this by adjusting the font-size so that the x-height
>>    is the same irregardless of the font used."
>>
>>   Horrified, I searched the document and discovered it AGAIN in the description of 'unicode-range' (4.5):
>>
>>   "Code points outside of the defined unicode-range are ignored,
>>    irregardless of whether the font contains a glyph for that
>>    code point or not."
>>
>> I believe both instances should be changed to "regardless", because that's an actual word.  "irrespective" would also be an acceptable substitute, though in my opinion just barely.  See <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/irregardless> for more information, if that's really necessary.
>>   Also, never tell me who did this, because if I find out I'll be honor-bound to follow through on my public statement and slap them like a haddock.  (Yes, "like", not "with".)
>>
>> --
>
> Enough people use "irrespective" to make it an actual word. It is hardly the first instance of a word in English that seems to mean the opposite of what it should, or of what it originally meant.
>
> Dictionaries can be both proscriptive and descriptive. Misuse of words turns out to be one of the biggest ways that languages change and evolve[1], and it always involves traditionalists bemoaning the disintegration of their language. But basically, if enough people misuse a word in the same way, the word takes on that new meaning, and dictionaries eventually have to adapt by describing the new meaning.
>
> [1] <http://www.unfoldingoflanguage.com/>

I still think "regardless" is a better word choice there.  Let's not
promote silly opposites-mean-the-same-thing word pairs like
flammable/inflammable.

~TJ
Received on Thursday, 3 December 2009 04:47:04 GMT

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