Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 12:31:52 CST


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

power!) DMLance