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Re: A note on "non" and "non-"

From: Ian Horrocks <ian.horrocks@comlab.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 11:31:12 +0100
Message-Id: <47E3B1D1-F091-4D81-8B44-B957DC5340D1@comlab.ox.ac.uk>
Cc: "'W3C OWL Working Group'" <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
To: Boris Motik <boris.motik@comlab.ox.ac.uk>
On 22 Apr 2009, at 18:12, Boris Motik wrote:

> Hello,
> This is one thing that drives me insane about English: why isn't  
> there an
> official guide? In many languages you have just one book to consult  
> and that's
> it; in English, however, you always have debates. This is inefficient.

To be fair, this is obviously going to be much more difficult to  
achieve when the language is spoken by billions of people in many  
different countries world-wide (or is that worldwide) -- we can't  
even agree (or at least only with great difficulty) on a simple thing  
like an ontology langauge, so how can you possibly expect that we  
will be able to agree on an incredibly complex matter such as the  
correct usage of natural language?

By the way, some of us actually *like* the variety and heterogeneity  
engendered by the widespread use of the language -- IMHO it would be  
a sad loss if everyone were forced to write and speak in exactly the  
same way. (Why stop at standardised writing -- standardised speech  
would also be good wouldn't it?)

> I would really prefer to stick with the existing spelling in "my"  
> documents. I
> got used to the Chicago Manual of Style, mainly because CMS was the  
> first one I
> encountered and, since there is no one official guide, sticking  
> with CMS is as
> good a choice as any. I start philosophizing now, I'll just get  
> confused and the
> documents will end up all messed up.
> Perhaps the choice of the style manual is something that could be  
> left to the
> discretion of each editor.

Works for me.

And, entertaining though it has been, perhaps it is time for us to  
draw this discussion to a close -- or at least to  move it off list.


> Regards,
> 	Boris
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: public-owl-wg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-owl-wg- 
>> request@w3.org] On
>> Behalf Of Thomas Schneider
>> Sent: 22 April 2009 18:01
>> To: W3C OWL Working Group
>> Subject: Re: A note on "non" and "non-"
>> If I may throw in my 2p or 2c worth:
>> The Oxford Manual of Style says the following (I know it's British,
>> but it also has a comment on US practice).
>> "Words with prefixes are often set as one word, but use a hyphen to
>> avoid confusion or mipronunciation, particularly where there is a
>> collision of vowels or consonants: ... re-rentry pro-life non-
>> negotiable de-ice ... non-effective"
>> "The hyphen is used less in US practice. Words beginning with non-  
>> and
>> re-, for example, are often set as one word: noneffective,
>> nonnegotiable, reelect, reenter"
>> "Use a hyphen to avoid confusion where a prefix is repeated (re-
>> release, sub-subcategory) or to avoid confusion ... (... un- 
>> ionized)."
>> "Hyphenate prefixes and combining forms before a capitalized name, a
>> numeral, or a date: anti-Darwinism pre-1990s mid-August ...
>> HTH
>> Thomas
>> On 22 Apr 2009, at 16:58, Sandro Hawke wrote:
>>>> On 22 Apr 2009, at 13:13, Sandro Hawke wrote:
>>>>>> Oh, I see. This text does not appear in the Wiki and has indeed
>>>>>> been
>>>>>> added when document snapshots were generated. Not much I can do
>>>>>> there. Thanks for this observation -- we'll keep this in mind
>>>>>> during
>>>>>> the next publication round.
>>>>> Yes, that's due to me.  Pubrules uses the hyphen [1], and I  
>>>>> suspect
>>>>> the
>>>>> pubrules checker requires it.
>>>>> I've forwarded your argument against it to the appropriate W3C  
>>>>> staff
>>>>> person, and I'll report back on the answer.
>>>> We clearly need a longer discussion on this...perhaps some telecon
>>>> time...or even a special F2F[1]!!!!
>>> Well, it's more fun than some topics we could be talking about.
>>> The official W3C answer is we can do choose which ever style we  
>>> want.
>>> I like this analysis:
>>>    Usage differs depending on publication style. Chicago Manual of
>>>    Style spells most compounds with the common prefixes solid (pre-,
>>>    post-, over-, under-, pro-, anti-, re-, un-, non-, semi-, co-,
>>>    pseud-, intra-, extra-, infra-, ultra-, sub-, super-, supra-). AP
>>>    Style Manual is more choosy: pro- and co- are hyphenated when
>>>    certain meanings are intended; anti- and non- are usually
>>>    hyphenated, with some exceptions noted; post-, pre-, and over-
>>>    follow the dictionary in general; and under-, un-, re-, semi-,
>>>    intra-, extra-, ultra-, sub-, super-, and supra- are usually
>>> spelled
>>>    solid. Both style books require hyphenation when the root word  
>>> is a
>>>    proper name or figures (anti-Semitic, pre-1989) and to  
>>> distinguish
>>>    homonyms (re-creation or recreation, un-ionized or unionized). In
>>>    addition, AP requires a hyphen when the root word begins with the
>>>    same vowel that the prefix ends in, with very few exceptions
>>>    (re-election for AP, reelection for Chicago; pro-abortion for AP,
>>>    proabortion for Chicago).  Words that are already hyphenated are
>>>    joined to a prefix with a hyphen: un-self-conscious.
>>> from http://www.nyu.edu/classes/copyXediting/Hyphens.html
>>> Personally, I like hyphenating "non-" words, and I strongly prefer
>>> having the hyphen when the prefix ends with the same letter as the
>>> word
>>> starts (not just a vowel), as in "non-normative" and "non-negative".
>>> It find it hard to read "nonnormative" and "nonnegative", and a web
>>> search suggests they're quite rare, especially in W3C documents.
>>>     -- Sandro
>> +-------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>> --+
>> |  Dr Thomas Schneider                          
>> schneider@cs.man.ac.uk  |
>> |  School of Computer Science       http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/ 
>> ~schneidt  |
>> |  Kilburn Building, Room 2.114                 phone +44 161  
>> 2756136  |
>> |  University of  
>> Manchester                                            |
>> |  Oxford Road                                             _/// 
>> _       |
>> |  Manchester M13 9PL                                       
>> (o~o)       |
>> +-----------------------------------------------------oOOO--(_)-- 
>> OOOo--+
>> Sutton and Cheam (ns.)
>>    Sutton and Cheam are two kinds of dirt into which all dirt is
>> divided.
>>    'Sutton' is the dark sort that always gets on the light-coloured
>>    things, and 'cheam' the light-coloured sort that always clings  
>> on to
>>    dark items. Anyone who has ever found Marmite stains on a dress-
>> shirt,
>>    or seagull goo on a dinner jacket a) knows all about sutton and
>> cheam,
>>    and b) is going to some very curious dinner parties.
>>                    Douglas Adams, John Lloyd: The Deeper Meaning  
>> of Liff
Received on Thursday, 23 April 2009 10:32:16 UTC

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