[Tagging] shop=fashion

joost schouppe joost.schouppe at gmail.com
Wed Aug 30 15:58:53 UTC 2017

> Tagging is done in British-English, if the word used in the tagging
>> means something else in your language, too bad.
> I personally totally disagree with this opinion. You are confusing
> signifier and signified. We all use English (I would not say the British
> one, as soccer is an existing value, despite football has been created in
> UK) because it is the current lingua franca. But we cannot map the whole
> world with tagging concepts related only to the UK context. We need to be
> firstly generic.

I'm sorry if this is completely missing the point of what you were trying
to say. If so, please elaborate and ignore the following.

That tagging is done in British-English is not an opinion, but a statement
of fact. In the OSM universe, the signifier almost always tells something
about the signified. And it does this based on the British-English
definition of the concept. This can be quite confusing for people
elsewhere. A naive approach would be to look at the tag amenity=cafe and
thinking this applies to the things you call café in your own language. In
Flemish Dutch however, you have to ignore the fact that "amenity=cafe"
sounds a lot like café, because in our use of the word, it clearly means
amenity=pub. This is the basic reason we have a wiki, and the reason why
editors (especially  those oriented to inexperienced mappers) have user
interfaces where the tags are hidden behind localised descriptions.

So in fact the relation between signifier and signified is not necesary at
all. We could as well write blob=26, if we have user interfaces describing
what that means. In some cases, mappers have stretched the meaning of tags
in such a way that the original relation between signifier and signified
has been largely lost. A good example would be village_green. But that is
not necessarily a problem, as it is the wiki that explains what a thing is,
and not just the tag.

Of course nobody is saying we should only map things where a
British-English word can be found.

Joost Schouppe
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