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RE: Language X within scope of language Y

From: Peter Constable <petercon@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 17:26:38 -0800
Message-ID: <F8ACB1B494D9734783AAB114D0CE68FE04D20821@RED-MSG-52.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, <www-international@w3.org>, <ietf-languages@iana.org>

> From: Mark Davis [mailto:mark.davis@jtcsv.com]

> Also, because words get adopted over time, and become "more and more"
> considered a natural part of the language.

I almost mentioned lexical borrowings as an issue. To my knowledge (though language contact is not an area of expertise for me) linguists have not established agreed-upon criteria by which to decide that lexical borrowing has become fully incorporated into another language. The process is certainly a gradual one.

So, for instance, most English speakers would have no clue that "conversation" came into English from French. Most are probably aware that "faux pas" comes from French, but would not be conscious of that each time they use it. (Another example that's probably further along in internalization would be American usage of "foyer" in which the pronunciation is fully Anglicised (Canadians and Brits say /foije/.) I'd guess that most times an English speaker uses "nom de plume" or "bête noir" they are conscious of the French origin though some might feel this has been adopted into their working vocabulary. And I'd guess any time an English speaker used "adieu", "un bon idée" or several other expressions they might use in an English conversation that they'd perceive themselves as having switched temporarily to French.

So, at what point do you tag xml:lang="en" versus xml:lang="fr"? There are no well-defined answers to this one.

Peter Constable
Received on Thursday, 20 January 2005 01:27:15 UTC

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