[Tagging] Draft Proposal: Default Langauge Format

Paul Allen pla16021 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 27 12:04:30 UTC 2018

On Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 12:35 PM, Marc Gemis <marc.gemis at gmail.com> wrote:

> > 5) All of the above have additional complications when dealing with
> multi-lingual communities.
> As a Flemish person, I rather have the name of the street pronounced
> in Dutch in Brussels than in the 2 languages as is now the case. This
> is probably one of the complications.

Also complicated by the fact that different multi-lingual communities
appear to handle things differently
on the ground.

Wales is officially bilingual Welsh/English.  Historically, much signage
was in English only, but as the Welsh
language movement gained strength bilingual signage has been phased in and,
in some recent cases, Welsh-only
signage has appeared.  It seems to depend largely upon how locals refer to

Currently it is common to see bilingual signage.  Often confusingly
designed.  Road traffic signage, where each
destination appears on its own line, has the Welsh and English on separate
lines with no difference in vertical
spacing from the other destinations.  So you cannot easily tell if "St
Dogmaels" and "Llandudoch" are two
different destinations or two names for the same destination.   Street
names tend to be a little less confusing,
with (usually) each name on its own line, so "Heol Napier" with "Napier
Street" below it.

But shops often do it differently.  More words on a sign mean paying the
signwriter more money.  So they often take
advantage of the different word order in Welsh and English.  Instead of
"Davies Butcher" and "Cigydd Davies" you'll
see "Cigydd Davies Butcher" (often the "Davies" would be larger or bolder
or differentiated in some other way).  As an
English speaker who knows about this, I'd be happy if the map showed
"Davies Butcher" to me.  But tourists who
understand neither language well may not be aware that "Davies Butcher" on
the map is not a different thing from
"Cigydd Davies Butcher" on the sign.  For all they know, "Cigydd Davies
Butcher" is different to "Davies Butcher."  And,
let's face it, tourists need maps more than locals do.  Which is why I
think "paint the label" is the right thing to do at the
local level, even if I would prefer just the English name for the places I
already know well and my next-door neighbour
would prefer only the Welsh name.

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