Talk:International English/Archive 2

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Outside view

I confess that I had seen this disagreement earlier but had hoped to stay out of it because my involvement has some possibility of damaging my relationship with either of you. But I hope things will work out in a way satisfactory to all of us. I can't review everything yet, but I hope what I can do now will be a good start. Maurreen 18:38, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)


"International English" is somewhat analogous to "ghost" or "array".

Regardless of whether ghosts exist, there is a commonly understood concept of "ghost". Regardless of whether "International English" exists, there is a concept (or two or three) of "International English" that is understood by a number of people, and that understanding has been documented (although the documents may be lacking).

An "array" is essentially an "assemblage". But many people use the word to mean "variety". I say that usage is incorrect, and I fix it when I can.

Jallan is not saying that "International English" actually means "British English". At least roughly speaking, Jallan is saying that some people use it to mean the same thing. As far as I can tell, that statement is both true and verifiable. Maurreen 18:38, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"Original research"

Whether Jallan's work is original research I will not address now. I can see how that question is debatable. But, as far as I can tell, user:Jallan/International English does not meet the criteria as outlined at Wikipedia: No original research#What is research and what is not, which says: "A wikipedia entry (including a part of an article) counts as original research if it proposes ideas."

Between the references Jallan has provided and use of the expression "International English" elsewhere in Wikipedia, my view is that Jallan is not proposing anything new.

It could be argued that Jallan is "defining new terms". But I see that as a weak argument, in that Jallan is reporting definition by others. One of the better examples is this:

  • Bible Society: Machine Assisted Translations: Anglicisations ("The standard English of India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Commonwealth and some other countries where English is used follows the conventions of British English. It is often therefore called International English to distinguish it from American English.") Maurreen 18:38, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • The use of a single website to justify a concept is a bit of a stretch, and hardly counts as an authoritative source; I've seen a website which argues that Jesus Christ was philosophically a Klingon Warrior. I was involved in this 'International English" argument some years back, and at the core of the dispute was that the issue that apart from the fact that Microsoft lists "International English" as their "Other" English option in some of their software, this is not a term with any real validity. If you are using it to mean "English which is not American" then the term is appallingly americocentric. If you are using it to mean "English as a lingua franca of modern global communication" then the term "Global English" is generally used for this purpose. An article named "English as a Global Language" is probably far more relevant for the text as it stands right now, and it could certainly mention that "people have suggested the terms "International English" and "Global English" to describe this subject" or something to that effect. But to imply that there is a formally recognised thing as "International English" is plainly misleading.Manning 14:41, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC) (AKA MMGB)

Authoritative references

I think all of us involved in this discussion would prefer more authoritative references. But at least in the abstract, I disagree with excluding less-than-ideal sources when those are the best that can be found. In my view, that makes the perfect the enemy of the good.

On the other hand, I think it would be worthwhile to point out in some appropriate way that there is a lack of better sources. The easiest way to do this might be: "'International English' is not listed or defined in the following dictionaries: blah, blah, and blah." Maurreen 18:38, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Hi Maurreen, Just a couple of points: (1) I don't believe anyone was insisting on academic sources for every point, but it's important to point out, if it's true, that there is no such thing as an "international English" style manual, or an "international English" dictionary; or if there are such things, they should be used as references; (2) You say: "International English" . . . is understood by a number of people, and that understanding has been documented . . " But understood by whom? Documented where? Again, this is just my plea for references; (3) "[S]ome people use [international English] to mean [British English]." Who are these "some people," and where is this use documented? It isn't enough to produce the website of a Harry Potter fan, particularly when the academic viewpoint is that global English (a term linguists have used to refer to the rapid evolution of the language) has detached itself entirely from its origins, and that no nation can take ownership of it; yet that inherent contradiction in the article wasn't even acknowledged.
My only interest is that the article doesn't contradict itself, and that claims be properly referenced to reputable sources, but by "reputable," I don't necessarily mean "academic." As you say, the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. In case it helps, the last edit I thought was fine is here, November 30, by Stevertigo. There are a couple of claims in there that would benefit from references, but basically I'd have no problem with you (or anyone) inserting that material, and then building up from there, if no one else objects.
By the way, Maurreen, the discussion as to whether this is a legitimate subject for Wikipedia go back to 2001 if you read the archives. See below for example. Slim 04:18, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)
The comments from 2001 (by MMGB and myself) that you put here (and which I have removed) were referring to a completely different article than the present one. You cannot use our opinions on that article to justify your own opinions on the current article. I'm pretty sure I never said that International English isn't a legitimate subject for Wikipedia. I merely considered it unnecessary, and objected to the nonsense that a certain Wikipedian was filling the article with. The article that I really objected to is long since gone - the wiki didn't keep a permanent record of all old versions in those days, and the page history only shows what it looked like after I had chopped the worst of the garbage from it. --Zundark 11:14, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Zundark, it's regarded as very poor Wikiquette to delete other people's edits from Talk pages, so please leave the above alone. I've deleted yours as I left that in only to show the date. What matters about the quote above is not the version it was referring to, but that it says: "I've been researching this for weeks . . . All my references provide only two valid meanings for it: as a term used in the computer industry, and as a reference to "English as a utility language for international communication." Slim 11:33, Dec 31, 2004 (UTC)
Pasting in other people's comments out of context is very poor Wikiquette. I merely undid it, and I have undone it again. If you want to replace it, please ask MMGB's permission first. The comment is on the archive page anyway, so there is no need to repeat it here. --Zundark 12:03, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Since when did we have to ask permission to copy/paste people's comments? Under the GDFL everything you and I wrote all those years ago is fair game. And besides, even though the original article is gone, I think my original comments which Slim copied are still relevant. You are free to disagree with Slim's actions, but to delete the comments Slim copied was poor form. Let others decide if the comments are or are not in context and/or relevant. Manning 14:48, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)
I didn't mean to suggest that the GFDL requires Slim to ask your permission, only that I would in that case drop my objection. The GFDL certainly allows Slim to insert your comments, and it allows me to revert if I consider the insertion misleading. For what it's worth, I too consider that your comments of November 2001 are still relevant, except perhaps for the remark that "this article simply has to go". Anyway, I'm glad to see that you are taking an interest in this article - it gives me more reason to believe that it will turn out well. I'm keeping out of it this time around. --Zundark 19:15, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

No, Zundark, article Talk pages are not supposed to have comments deleted from them, except in cases of vandalism. Slim 05:54, Jan 3, 2005 (UTC)


Just in case anything goes badly … if either of you ever thinks what I'm doing here is not helping, please let me know. Maurreen 08:44, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I agree with the general sentiment here: "It's important to point out, if it's true, that there is no such thing as an "international English" style manual, or an "international English" dictionary."

But I often disagree with using absolutes. We can't know with any certainty that there is no such thing as an "international English" style manual, or an "international English" dictionary."

From Web searching, it appears that there are some "International English" reference books. From cursory knowledge, it also appears (and only appears, I don't state this definitively at all) that those do not codify any particular variety. Maurreen 08:44, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I also agree with this sentiment expressed earlier by Jeff Q:

The statement that "International English" is frequently assumed to mean "British English" is no doubt accurate, and it's important to note that this happens. However, it is also true to say that "its" is frequently mistaken for "it's", "affect" and "effect" are commonly confused, and millions of people couldn't identify where the U.S., Britain, Australia, or Canada are on a map without colors and labels (and frequently not even then). It's not so much a question of what is common, but what is correct. If there are no language authorities who are willing to state that International English is essentially British English, then that should strongly suggest that this usage is just plain wrong. It would be acceptable, however, if this is the case, to mention this usage and point out that it's misleading or possibly incorrect.

And this: "If there are conflicting meanings (which is obviously the case), they should all be listed." Maurreen 08:44, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Contrast with American English

Maybe the article could say something along the lines of this: "The expression 'International English' is sometimes used in contrast to 'American English'." Maurreen 08:44, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • By who? I'm sorry, but the above is americocentrism of the worst kind. Why not define "foreigners" as "people who don't live in the USA"? We all understand that Americans have no grasp of the outside world - we don't need the 'pedia to remind us. Manning 15:05, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)
To answer Manning's question "By who?", here is one example, from Zoney, an Irishman, at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (jguk's changes): "By International English of course, I mean specifically non-US."
In my view, the rest of Manning's comments immediately above are at best irrelevant. They do nothing toward improving the article. Maurreen 19:27, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)\

Maurreen, as you know, Wikipedia articles can't use other Wikipedia articles as sources, and especially can't use other editors' comments as sources. Can you find an external, authoritative source that says or implies "International English is sometimes used in contrast to American English"? Slim 05:59, Jan 3, 2005 (UTC)

My answer was more in response to Manning's statement of Americocentrism than anything else. Maurreen 06:08, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)