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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Richard Walker <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 10 Feb 1997 11:12:45 +1100
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (74 lines)
Part of the problem is that there isn't agreement on many aspects of

A classic example is that of date formats.  Everybody thinks that they
know best.  In Australia, you will see
10th February, 1997
February 10th, 1997
February 10, 1997
etc. etc.
Note that we *do* consistently put the day before the month, if the
month is written as a number.  But then there are various formats for
that too:
etc. etc.

Australians vigorously reject many (most?) forms of standardization
and regulation.  If you try to lay down the law, they will fight
back.  Individualism is far more important than being `right'
according to a certain set of guidelines.  (Other Australians on this
list will probably disagree with me - which proves my point!)

Personally, I follow the book which is the closest thing that we have
to ,,Duden Rechtschreibung`` and `The Chicago Manual of Style'.  It's
called `Style manual for authors, editors and printers', and it's the
standard guide for all aspects of the production of government (and
other) documents in Australia.

It specifies dates as
10 February 1997
abbreviated to
10.2.97 or 10.2.1997

Did you know that there's an international standard for the writing of
calendar dates in all-numeric form?  It's ISO 2014-1976, and it looks
like this:
A hyphen or space may be used between year and month, and between
month and day:
1997 02 10

Another aspect that isn't as well understood as it might be, is
orthography.  Many people believe that `-ize- is `American spelling',
and that the British (and Australian) spelling is always `-ise'.
Although `-ise' is very common in Britain and Australia, it is not
correct to label `-ize' as an Americanism, since, for example, `-ize'
appeared as a verbal suffix in the thirteenth century.
Fowler/Burchfield (`Modern English Usage', third edition) gives a
lucid explanation of which words should have `-ize' and which must be
spelled `-ise' (words that came to English via French, for example).
As an example of the confusion that exists today, Oxford University
Press `house rules' specify `-ize', whereas Cambridge University Press
rules specify `-ise'.

People who speak in defence of `-ise' sometimes make this claim: `The
OED (Oxford English Dictionary) prefers ``-ise'''.  Whenever I hear
this, I invite them to *read* the Oxford English Dictionary.

But I digress.

In practice, following the rules in the `Style manual' is fairly
simple.  If there were a LaTeX package that implemented as much of it
as possible, I'd use it.  But I wouldn't expect many of my colleagues
to be interested.

Richard Walker                            [log in to unmask]
Department of Computer Science            Aust:  (06) 279 8194
The Australian National University        Intl: +61 6 279 8194
Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia             Fax:  +61 6 249 0010