W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2009

RE: Why "color"

From: Rainer Åhlfors <rahlfors@wildcatsoftware.net>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 11:14:57 -0700
Message-ID: <1103A877E41F7A46A6021A6C71DAA8561A3266@denali.WildcatSoftware.local>
To: "Bjoern Hoehrmann" <derhoermi@gmx.net>, "Philip TAYLOR" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>
Quite frankly, I find this whole discussion silly.
It is not like the W3C standards are promoted to the general public! Those who dabble in CSS, HTML, JavaScript, or whatever the occasion might call for, are generally intelligent enough to master a handful of terms. If, for some reason, they are not -- they will resort to a tool that does the "coding" for them. Who cares what languages the world's population speak? CSS is not promoted to Chinese rice farmers or Nigerian oil drillers.
I, myself, am not a native English speaker. The majority of my career I have worked with non-English speakers. Not once has this come up before. "Oh, I wish I could code in Spanish instead!"
Perhaps we should all have a chat with Larry Wall and ask that he change Perl, too? Or what about "elsif", which is neither English nor anything else? Or perhaps "sprintf"?
We are talking about tokens here. For the purposes of this conversation, those tokens are not in English nor in any other language. They are what they are in CSS. If they are anything, it certainly is not English. They might, however, be written in ASCII. If you still think they are written in English, consider "border-width" or "list-style" or anything else that is, according to English, incorrectly hyphenated.
CSS is not a set of words. It is a set of tokens that are supposed to mean something. They simply happen to be closely related to English counterparts for sake of simplicity. Deal with it! Or not, as the case might be.
But neither CSS nor HTML/JavaScript/C++/Foo will be truly localized. Ever.
A non-English Speaker


From: www-style-request@w3.org on behalf of Bjoern Hoehrmann
Sent: Thu 2009-02-19 10:57 AM
To: Philip TAYLOR
Cc: www-style@w3.org
Subject: Re: Why "color"

* Philip TAYLOR wrote:
>All of your points are well made (as were those of David Singer),
>but I would want to comment on your last paragraph (above) :
>it may be advantageous to non-native speakers of English to
>[...] use English /at this time/, but unless we seriously discuss
>(without resort to sarcasm) how this Anglo-centric bias can
>be eliminated, all we are doing is continuing to perpetuate
>what I regard as a highly undesirable state of affairs.

The time to discuss allowing alternate names for properties is when
CSS users have built and deployed successful tools that allow doing
this locally, like a web server module that maps "fr-css" to "en-css",
or source code editors that display "fr-css" but save to "en-css". We
could then discuss whether to standardize some such mappings, or make
features available that allow arbitrary user-defined mappings.

If local communities can but do not solve a particular problem, there
is usually insufficient reason for the broader community to "solve" it
for them.
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
25899 Dagebüll · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/
Received on Thursday, 19 February 2009 18:15:39 UTC

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