How to measure language -- Google will find anything I misspell here! [was: Re: LFS 6.6-rc1 corrections]

Jan-Christoph Bornschlegel trollfood at
Mon Feb 22 01:06:20 PST 2010

Am Freitag 19 Februar 2010 15:34:27 schrieb Jim DeMarco:
> A quick Google dictionary search appears to define only "mathematics";
> and there are 8K references to "maths libraries" and 30K references to
> "math libraries" (so "maths" is not as frequently used as "math", but is
> far more common than *I* would have expected).

Google counts whatever grammar or spelling appears in newsgroups, forums, and 
probably in our emails as well.

I read some (even some serious) discussions on that topic, especially for 
German, because we decided[1] to reform a large part of our grammar and 
spelling (that's why LaTeX' babel package has [german] and [ngerman]).

One interesting point from a language scientist was that:
if the majority of a people (in this case he meant "people" like native 
speakers, not a a nation) says something a certain way, we accept this a the 
"official" way after an appropriate time[2].

So, if anything is misspelled long enough throughout the media, it will 
eventually appear in the dictionaries.

I wonder what would happen if the same "logic" were applied in Ethics, like 
taxpayers -- oh, wait, it is :)

Please don't misunderstand me here. This is no language battle. I just don't 
agree that something becomes "right" as long as the majority does it. Neither 
do I think "right" is an adequate term for languages.

[1] for appropiate definition of "decided". There was neither a majority in 
the public nor have we been asked in the first place
[2] which was of course never specified

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