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Confuzzled

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It is still a pretty simple language that is quite easy to learn. Many languages are an absolute nightmare - weird counting systems and cases that split up into more than just "one" and "more than one", insanely large amounts of tenses or even (grammatical!) genders, pronunciations that are so finely nuanced that you can't hear the difference between about 7 words with a completely different meaning...

I mean, just take German as an example. If you didn't grew up with it, chances are pretty high that you'll never fully figure out how to gender your nouns in your lifetime - while it hardly matters at all in the English language.
It is very easy to learn to communicate in bad, but understandable English. There are various types of simplified English used in teaching English as a foreign language which have a basic vocabulary of roughly 750 - 1,500 words, and a rationalised grammar - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_English#English_as_a_lingua_franca_in_foreign_language_teaching . In addition, there are plenty of English pidgins and creoles ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English-based_pidgins , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English-based_creole_language )
 

Dr. λ the Typer of Terms

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The biggest flaw of English is conflating "free" as in freedom with "free" as in free of charge.

Speaking of free, what do you think is better: free software or free software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is free, but it's even more important that it's free. Though most software that is free also happens to be free.
 

Confuzzled

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Mandarin is universal if your whole universe is China.
Well to be fair, many GoFundMe/Kickstarter efforts describe the issues they have in dealing with obtaining their technology from China. Many make a point of having a native Mandarin speakers 'on board' to make dealing with Chinese suppliers easier.
That said, English as a global business and trade language has some life left in it, and that is partly helped by English contract law often being used. It is good to have contracts written in a language that all parties understand, and a legal system regarded as workably fair. Many people come away from the Chinese legal system feeling somewhat bruised and with suspicions of discrimination in favour of Chinese parties to contracts. This may be due to a lack of understanding of Chinese (legal) culture.

The Chinese name for 'China' is Zhōngguó, which is usually translated as 'Middle Kingdom', but should, perhaps, be more accurately rendered as 'Central Kingdom'. The Chinese, not unsurprisingly, regard their position as central in the world/universe, and presumably feel their language is, or should be, universal. Given the long and impressive history of Chinese culture, they have a point. The dominance of Engllish as a language and English trade culture/law may well be fleeting as measured against Chinese history, and the current situation anomolous.
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The biggest flaw of English is conflating "free" as in freedom with "free" as in free of charge.

Speaking of free, what do you think is better: free software or free software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is free, but it's even more important that it's free. Though most software that is free also happens to be free.
English just mugs French and uses libre for free as in freedom, and if pushed, appropriates the Latin term gratis for free as in beer.
Speaking of free, what do you think is better: free software or free software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is free, but it's even more important that it's free. Though most software that is free also happens to be free.
Speaking of free, what do you think is better: gratis software or libre software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is gratis, but it's even more important that it's libre. Though most software that is libre also happens to be gratis.
 
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Djoga'Ro

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The biggest flaw of English is conflating "free" as in freedom with "free" as in free of charge.

Speaking of free, what do you think is better: free software or free software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is free, but it's even more important that it's free. Though most software that is free also happens to be free.
If it makes you feel any better, in German there's the word "umsonst" which means gratis, but can also mean in vain.
 

levi

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The biggest flaw of English is conflating "free" as in freedom with "free" as in free of charge.
Another one I noticed recently was people saying that an error in code was fixed, meaning that the bad behaviour remained intact and was unaltered, as opposed to the more common usage in bug tracking at least, in that the code had been fixed, as in altered to improve its behaviour. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the case used, but it caused me a double take at least.
 

ClockworkCoder

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The Chinese, not unsurprisingly, regard their position as central in the world/universe,
I think that's the case for most countries, regarding how world maps are drawn (and especially for any resident "flat earthers").

It's healthy in my opinion to attempt to learn about (an) other culture(s) and language(s). I find language and derivation fascinating, and how much language can reflect the (ancient) culture in many ways.
 

Confuzzled

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Another one I noticed recently was people saying that an error in code was fixed, meaning that the bad behaviour remained intact and was unaltered, as opposed to the more common usage in bug tracking at least, in that the code had been fixed, as in altered to improve its behaviour. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the case used, but it caused me a double take at least.
Well, that's down to Americans 'simplifying' the language. Fixed meaning unmoveable has a long history starting at the late 14 century in English. Fixed meaning repaired probably came into use in the USA in the 1700s


The confusion puts readers in a fix, which can be fixed-up by using context to fix the correct meaning in the reader's mind. We need someone clever to fix the fix we find ourselves in.
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I think that's the case for most countries, regarding how world maps are drawn (and especially for any resident "flat earthers").

It's healthy in my opinion to attempt to learn about (an) other culture(s) and language(s). I find language and derivation fascinating, and how much language can reflect the (ancient) culture in many ways.
I agree: there is much to learn/copy/appropriate/steal from other cultures and languages. ;)

On a personal level, it is quite odd: I have a noticeably different character when I speak French compared to when I speak English.
 
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Dr. λ the Typer of Terms

Inferrer of Types and β-Reducer of β-Redexes
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Speaking of free, what do you think is better: gratis software or libre software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is gratis, but it's even more important that it's libre. Though most software that is libre also happens to be gratis.
You got everything right. Though I think that people who are less aware of the issues of software freedom would likely be confused by the sentence.

Another one I noticed recently was people saying that an error in code was fixed, meaning that the bad behaviour remained intact and was unaltered, as opposed to the more common usage in bug tracking at least, in that the code had been fixed, as in altered to improve its behaviour. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the case used, but it caused me a double take at least.
Reminds me of the Dutch "omvaren". It can either mean avoiding something by sailing around it or mean knocking something over by sailing against it. Or how about:
- "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse."
- "I helped my uncle jack off a horse."
- "I helped my uncle Jack jack off a horse."
- "I helped my uncle jack Jack off a horse."
I'm not sure what the last sentence would mean but the first two are pretty ambiguous when spoken out.
 

theredbaron

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You got everything right. Though I think that people who are less aware of the issues of software freedom would likely be confused by the sentence.


Reminds me of the Dutch "omvaren". It can either mean avoiding something by sailing around it or mean knocking something over by sailing against it. Or how about:
- "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse."
- "I helped my uncle jack off a horse."
- "I helped my uncle Jack jack off a horse."
- "I helped my uncle jack Jack off a horse."
I'm not sure what the last sentence would mean but the first two are pretty ambiguous when spoken out.
The last sentence would mean you used a jack (such as what holds up a car when you change the tire) to lift Jack off a horse. Which means A: Jack is bloody heavy, and 2: that horse is damn strong.

:)
 

mrpalmtop

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The biggest flaw of English is conflating "free" as in freedom with "free" as in free of charge.

Speaking of free, what do you think is better: free software or free software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is free, but it's even more important that it's free. Though most software that is free also happens to be free.
It's not a flaw of English but rather that of the choice of "free" to describe the software. All languages have different meanings for the same words. Oftentimes, the multiple denotations make language richer, especially when used in prose or poetry.

Stallman, or whoever it was, could have used liberated, liberating, emancipated, or unbound to describe the software. Any of them would have been unambiguous.
 

levi

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It's not a flaw of English but rather that of the choice of "free" to describe the software. All languages have different meanings for the same words. Oftentimes, the multiple denotations make language richer, especially when used in prose or poetry.

Stallman, or whoever it was, could have used liberated, liberating, emancipated, or unbound to describe the software. Any of them would have been unambiguous.
I just dug out a copy of the version 2 license and was surprised to find it didn't contain the phrase 'not free as in beer'. That must be on the gpl website somewhere, but it's not actually part of the license, and I can't find a description of the sense that 'free' is meant as in the document short of the whole license document itself.

I'd argue that calling it emancipated software outside of the US would either raise the spectre of Karl Marx or that of the slavery of the african folk, either of which could be considered slightly hyperbolic when discussing the permissions of software developers and their code. Inside the US it would I suspect raise the ghoul of the civil war, but that's only my guess. Unbound software I have less of an issue with, but it's two syllables whereas free is just one, and 'free' does seem to have won the war in the main. We all know what free software is, and those with other intentions have had to call their software PD, or open source or something else to distinguish it.
 

pyrat

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If it makes you feel any better, in German there's the word "umsonst" which means gratis, but can also mean in vain.
Oh. Ich dachte, dass "frei" "libre" bedeutet, und "kostenlos" "gratis" bedeutet. Aber jetz bekomme ich Zwiefeln... Bedeutet "frei" beide "gratis" und "libre" auf Deutsch? Egal, ich habe ein Wörterbuch irgendwo...
 
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Djoga'Ro

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Oh. Ich dachte, dass "frei" "libre" bedeutet, und "kostenlos" "gratis" bedeutet. Aber jetz bekomme ich Zwiefeln... Bedeutet "frei" beide "gratis" und "libre" auf Deutsch? Egal, ich habe ein Wörterbuch irgendwo...
Jein. Ja in "Der Eintritt ist frei." oder "Freibier". Ich faende es merkwuerdig, jemanden sagen zu hoeren "Das Buch ist frei" [ADDENDUM Und wuerde es nicht verstehen, wenn es der Kontext nicht erzwingt]. Eindeutig hingegen ist "kostenfrei".
 
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Xcl4m4t10n

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Well to be fair, many GoFundMe/Kickstarter efforts describe the issues they have in dealing with obtaining their technology from China. Many make a point of having a native Mandarin speakers 'on board' to make dealing with Chinese suppliers easier.
That said, English as a global business and trade language has some life left in it, and that is partly helped by English contract law often being used. It is good to have contracts written in a language that all parties understand, and a legal system regarded as workably fair. Many people come away from the Chinese legal system feeling somewhat bruised and with suspicions of discrimination in favour of Chinese parties to contracts. This may be due to a lack of understanding of Chinese (legal) culture.

The Chinese name for 'China' is Zhōngguó, which is usually translated as 'Middle Kingdom', but should, perhaps, be more accurately rendered as 'Central Kingdom'. The Chinese, not unsurprisingly, regard their position as central in the world/universe, and presumably feel their language is, or should be, universal. Given the long and impressive history of Chinese culture, they have a point. The dominance of Engllish as a language and English trade culture/law may well be fleeting as measured against Chinese history, and the current situation anomolous.
Post automatically merged:


English just mugs French and uses libre for free as in freedom, and if pushed, appropriates the Latin term gratis for free as in beer.

Speaking of free, what do you think is better: gratis software or libre software? Personally I think it's a great advantage when software is gratis, but it's even more important that it's libre. Though most software that is libre also happens to be gratis.
Libre is a spanish word not a french one.
 

levi

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According to wiktionary, the english word comes from both the French and the Spanish ones. As is I don't see either of those definitions explicity matching up to the idea of libre software. Specifically libre software does present obligations to you, in that if you wanted to modify it and release it you must release the altered source code.
 

ible

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It's not a flaw of English but rather that of the choice of "free" to describe the software. All languages have different meanings for the same words. Oftentimes, the multiple denotations make language richer, especially when used in prose or poetry.
super mega plus on this.

in physics we "redefine" (or have very specific meanings for) words like work, energy, power, etc., but physicists are known for being adorably annoying. i always thought the free software movement would have benefited its cause from being less annoying about trying to redefine/narrow the scope of words, and instead make their own words/phrases (e.g. copyleft, shareable source, or something like that).
 
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