Andrew Winkler <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in response to a message
> > I disagree. The user says "Do you speak German?", not "Do you speak informal
> > German?". Majordomo replies in formal or informal language, as configured by
> > the majordomo-owner.
> How is that better than saying "Ich spreche Deutsch", but also
> elaborating by saying "for now I'll use the formal Swiss dialect, but
Do you speak Swiss German (or at least German)? It appears from your
comments that you don't...
1) There is no such thing as a 'formal Swiss dialect'. Rather, you speak a
Swiss dialect and while doing so, you choose to use formal or informal
2) When two strangers meet in a multicultural context, the first thing
they do is try to negotiate a language for further communication. This
means aking questions like "Do you speak German?". It is necessary to
implement something like this in a program like Majordomo.
3) Choice of 'formal' vs 'informal' variations of a language or dialect is
a separate issue, and much more complicated because it is very culture-
dependent. For example, when a new neighbor moved in, I introcuded
myself by saying "ich bin dae Norbert" which communicated three things:
Namely, a) my name is Norbert, b) let's use informal language, and
c) it would be nice if we were friends as well as neighbors.
It was appropriate for me to suggest use of informal language, because
our new neighbour is younger than I am. This is only a very simple
example for showing that there may be complicated patterns of social
interaction woven into negotiation of choice of 'formal' vs 'informal'
language. It really makes no sense to try to implement anything like
this into Majordomo. Let the choice of 'formal' vs 'informal' be
configurable by the Majordomo-owner and that's it. We have enough
creeping featurism in Majordomo already.