Template talk:Commonwealth

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information This template is being discussed at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour/2013/January#Category:Commonwealth_English
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See #Category:Commonwealth English above, and Wiktionary:Beer_parlour/2013/January#Category:Commonwealth_English. This label is nonsensical.

There is no such variety of English, and there is no straightforward interpretation of this label. According to w:English_in_the_Commonwealth_of_Nations, “generalisations cannot be made about the various forms of English used by the various member nations.”

What does it mean?

  • British? (our label says “UK”) – in the traditional dictionary-label sense of terms and spellings as used in Britain, as opposed to those used in America? If so, then having a duplicate label is confusing and misleading.
  • Used in Commonwealth countries and not Britain? – if we discount specific Irish, Canadian, Australian, Indian regionalisms, this describes nothing.
  • Used in Britain and in Commonwealth countries, but not in the USA? – Including Canadian and Australian main and alternative spellings basically means all of English, including practically all of US English.

This label has no possible explanatory value. Michael Z. 2013-06-12 14:27 z

I think it's easy enough to interpret, even if the label is misleading. It's trying to say "used in all English-speaking countries except the U.S., its dependencies, and countries that use U.S. spelling (Liberia, Philippines, Micronesia, Marshall Islands)" and is intended to mark spellings like centre and favour. It's misleading partly because not all English-speaking countries except the U.S. are in the Commonwealth (Ireland isn't) and partly because Canada (which is in the Commonwealth) uses some American spellings (e.g. curb, tire). It would be more accurate to label centre {{context|Anguilla|Antigua and Barbuda|Australia|Bahamas|Barbados|Belize|Bermuda|Botswana|British Indian Ocean Territory|British Virgin Islands|Cameroon|Canada|Cayman Islands|Dominica|Falkland Islands|Fiji|Gambia|Ghana|Gibraltar|Grenada|Guam|Guernsey|Guyana|India|Ireland|Isle of Man|Jamaica|Jersey|Kenya|Kiribati|Lesotho|Malta|Mauritius|Montserrat|Namibia|Nauru|New Zealand|Nigeria|Pakistan|Palau|Papua New Guinea|Pitcairn Islands|Rwanda|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha|Saint Kitts and Nevis|Saint Lucia|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|Samoa|Seychelles|Sierra Leone|Singapore|Solomon Islands|South Africa|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands|South Sudan|Sri Lanka|Sudan|Swaziland|Tanzania|Trinidad and Tobago|Turks and Caicos Islands|Uganda|United Kingdom|Zambia|Zimbabwe}}, but that sure is a lot of typing. —Angr 15:33, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
I was pretty much gonna say what Angr said. Does anyone have a better solution than this template? Because I sure don't. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:52, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
When it comes to spelling alone (putting aside actual linguistic differences), it's possible to divide the world of English words into "UK-influenced spellings" and "US-influenced spellings". Using those labels would let us avoid the problem of calling "Commonwealth English" both UK-influenced spellings used in Ireland and US-influenced spellings used in Canada, as well as the problem of calling "US English" spellings used in Liberia and the Philippines. Canadian spellings will probably have to be tagged separately no matter what, since it isn't always predictable when Canada is going to use a UKIS and when it's going to use a USIS. Some spellings like realize and cancelled will be trickier, though, since they are found in both the UK and the US, but each of them is more common in one country than the other. So my proposal would be to have {{UK-influenced English}} and {{US-influenced English}}, but I acknowledge these will not be 100% unproblematic either. —Angr 16:17, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
What linguists and dictionaries call these is British English – whose roots precede the Commonwealth, the Empire, and the United Kingdom, and American English, the first major non-British branching of the language, preceding the existence of the United States, and which includes the language as spoken in both the USA and Canada. Pandering to political correctness, or rather international book sales, a few publishers have changed the wording to UK and US, and generally avoid eye contact if you try to find out how these are defined.
Spellings specifically have to be handled a little differently. It’s usually a mistake to define a spelling as “British” or “US.” Spelling has been historically very variable. Spellings like realize started in British English and remain in American, while they have been commonly, but not universally, replaced by realise et al. in British English. Canadians’ preferred spellings correspond to both US and British favourites in different cases, but the other version is usually an acceptable alternative in non-pedantic writing.
To avoid conflict with traditional linguistic terminology, to be clear to readers and editors, and to avoid making up completely novel or illogical categories, we might define our English-language categories for terms, senses, usages, and spellings thus:
The problem with labels UK and
  1. No label – worldwide English.
    1. British or British English – Originating in the English of the British Isles, and probably used wherever English has spread, except for North America
      1. UK or United Kingdom
        1. England
        2. Wales
        3. Scotland
        4. Northern Ireland
      2. Ireland – does our Irish English include Northern Ireland?
      3. Australia
      4. New Zealand
      5. India
      6. South Africa
    2. North America or North American – Not British; US terms should probably be labelled this way by default, unless it’s know that they are local or not used in Canada.
      1. US – US regionalism; different from British or Canadian English.
      2. Canada – Canadian Regionalism
 Michael Z. 2013-06-12 18:20 z
That sounds like a good idea. American spellings (the majority of which are not used in Canada) would then be marked {{context|US}}, while American lexical terms (the majority of which are used in Canada) would be marked {{context|North America}}, as would the few terms like curb and tire which follow American spelling in Canada. The disadvantage I foresee is that if centre and honour are marked "British", users from places like Ireland and Canada will want to add their own context labels too, since these spellings aren't only British. And then, worst case scenario, we end up with a series of context labels starting to approach my reductio ad absurdum given above. —Angr 18:41, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Again, I'll save time by just agreeing with both of you. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:35, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Many spellings like labour, licence and centre would have to be marked British, Canadian.
Regarding Ireland, the language is English, and the place is in the British Isles – but is the term “British” insensitive to speakers of Irish English? (Currently, template:Northern Ireland puts terms in category:British English, and not the subcategory:Irish English.)
Regional scope: obviously, British (English) would not be labelled Britain. But our regional labels are currently mostly proper nouns (“Canada,” “Australia,” “Ireland”), while “US” and “UK” could be adjectives or nouns.
We need to hear from the editors who changed the text of {{British}} to “UK.” I am sure that not everyone agrees here.
[updated the list of labels, above] Michael Z. 2013-06-13 15:39 z
I’m getting off topic. I will bring the wider issue up in the BP shortly. But {{Commonwealth}} is little-used, so I believe it can be deleted without re-conceptualizing regional labelling in general. Michael Z. 2013-06-13 15:50 z
"is the term “British” insensitive to speakers of Irish English?" To many of them, especially those who strenuously object to the term "British Isles" (or at least to the inclusion of Ireland in the group called "British Isles"), it certainly is insensitive. —Angr 16:09, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I didn’t know that. Do you know if they have another term for the great body of English dialects that is not (North) American English? Do they also find it bothersome that the English language they speak shares its name with England and the English people? (I don’t mean to sound sarcastic.) Michael Z. 2013-06-13 16:54 z
See w:British Isles naming dispute. They don't mind referring to their language as English, but many of them definitely think of it as a language imposed upon them by a foreign invader. As for a term for non–North American English, I doubt they have one, and neither does anyone else. Australian uses British spelling, but it's not British English either. —Angr 19:33, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
British English does get used this way, in Dictionary labelling for example. See Citations:British English. And family-tree type classifications of the language seem to do so, as in Strevens’s and Crystal’s maps (see McArthur, pp 94, 96), which divides between American English and British English branches. Michael Z. 2013-06-13 20:56 z
  • Kept as there's no consensus to delete. --ElisaVan (talk) 17:48, 5 October 2013 (UTC)