Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 12:31:52 CST
From: "Donald M. Lance" ENGDL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIZZOU1.BITNET
Subject: Re: Ozark(s) and other plural(s)
When words like "sierra madre" become attached to "mountians" they no
longer function as Spanish words. Official maps published in English
do not use tildes or accent marks on Spanish-origin place names. The
US Board on Geographic Names discusses this matter often but ends up
not wanting to use a mix of orthographic practices. The apostrophes
used in AmerIndian names pose even greater challenges than tildes,
which can be respelled as -ny-, and accent marks, which are suprasegmental
rather than "segmental." It's kinda too bad that typographers and qwerty
devotees have imposed such heavy strictures on orthographic practices.
Some newspapers in the Southwest will use tildes and occasionally accent
marks. Ah, the glories of monocultural monolingualism in advanced societies!
Seriously, the big powers (England, the U.S., France, Germany, Russia) can
get by with imposing orthographies on print media. Cf. Turkey's
romanization in the 1920s (to become a potential big power), Serbian
imposition of Cyrillic on the rest of Yugoslavia, and all the angst
associated with pinyin in Mainland China and Giles-Wade in Taiwan. And
reluctance of any keyboard-maker to deviate from the (financially
successful) qwerty arrangement of letters of the standard typewriter.
I've drifted off onto a different topic, but will come back to the opening
idea. The discussions on this list of such phrasings as "the La Brea Tar Pits"
set aside the fact that "la" no longer functions as an article when this
name is used in English, just as "al-" is no longer an (Arabic) article
in "algebra." Similarly, the -s in "Sierra Madres" is added to an English
name, not to a Spanish word. (I never can remember how the Turks want us
to spell the name of their country -- so much for their attempt to be a major