Wikivoyage talk:Spelling

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Spelling used for continent articles[edit]

I have for some time, been wondering why is there no preferred variety used for continent articles (+region articles such as Borneo or Melanesia), and while the policy says "if there is no clear variety used, then use US spelling", I believe continents should be treated as a special case, and go with what a majority of countries use, because there's no consistency with continent articles. So for continents, here's what I thought would suit the most:

  • Europe: British (obviously)
  • North America: American (also another obvious)
  • Africa: British (most countries in Africa use British spelling, and even for some of the French influenced countries, I've seen them use British English as well.)
  • Oceania: Australian (34 million people for AUS vs. 5.5 million for NZ and maybe another 1 million for British, quite clear what to use)
  • South America: American
  • Asia: I'm not too sure. SE, S Asia and parts of the Middle East prefer British, while East use American, although the east is the most influential), but if one has to be chosen, I'd prefer American

Antarctica should go with region based. East Antarctica should go with Australian, Far East with NZ, Central with British (the Norwegian claim) and west with American (inc. the disputed British/Argentinian claim) per "no clear variety".

With continent regions, that, I'll come to that later. If this proposal is gone ahead, although that should also be something region based. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 01:40, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most Europeans prefer American English over British English. Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:09, 6 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many. I know no statistics on that. British English is taught in most schools, I suppose. –LPfi (talk) 04:57, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought that the EU mainly used British spelling, but American terms (quite similar to Australia). But we're talking about spelling, not phrases. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 05:43, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We've decided to use UK English for European articles because the EU as an organisation uses UK English. We shouldn't spend time revisiting this just because one contributor has made an unsubstantiated claim to try to change this policy. I think that contributors who participate in policy discussions should accept the decisions the community has made, and not ignore them. Ground Zero (talk) 10:44, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moving back to SHB2000's proposal, I think that Europe: UK, Oceania: Australia, and everywhere else: US would be a straightforward way of dealing with this in a way that is consistent with our decision to use US spelling as the default. (I think we use US spelling for francophone Africa on the basis that it is unlikely that they bother too much about consistency in English spelling.) Ground Zero (talk) 11:36, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are many countries in Africa with ties to the UK, and I don't think our US default should override that fact. Individual countries without such ties are another topic, which should be decided on country level. –LPfi (talk) 15:49, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We are talking about the Africa article in this case, not all African articles. The spelling applicable for each country would apply to country, city and park articles. Ground Zero (talk) 19:22, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please refrain from passive-aggressive sniping. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:54, 7 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not too sure how that comment exactly is passive-aggressive sniping but this is getting off topic. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 10:43, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ground Zero: A majority of Africa uses British spellings, including some of those those that were influenced by the French, and it theoretically makes sense to use British spellings (given that most of the Africa article uses British spelling anyway), and wouldn't require too much of a cleanup. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 10:32, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Checked 60 random words from the Africa article that have differences in spelling, 55 of them use British spellings, 5 use American. Didn't go any further since that'll take about an hour. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 10:35, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also given that most tourist spots of Africa (like Zambia, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, or Ethiopia) use British spellings, I think we should go with that. Given that the countries that use English use British, and the countries that use French have no consistency, we should just go on what the consistent one is. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 10:43, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't feel strongly about the spelling in the Africa article. If other editors are okay with using UK spelling there, I won't object. Ground Zero (talk) 11:44, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes Done. Antarctica should be taken care of later since that is not as important as continent regions SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:57, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Continent regions[edit]

Given that we now have the issues with continent regions, this will require more time, but here were some that I thought would fit:

  • Caribbean - British (given much of it are still French territories)
  • Melanesia - Australian
  • South Asia - British
  • East Asia - American
  • All of Europe's regions except for Eastern Europe - British
  • Eastern Europe - American
  • South East Asia - British
  • Central America - American
  • North Africa - British
  • Sahel - American
  • West Africa - British
  • Central Africa - I dunno
  • Middle East - I dunno
  • East Africa - British
  • East African Islands - British
  • Southern Africa - British
  • Caucasus - American
  • Polynesia - New Zealand (given that NZ is sometimes considered to be part of Polynesia)
  • Micronesia - American

Does this look good? SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:06, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looks OK, but I disagree with this edit because any reasonable reader will believe it refers to every part of the continents in question, and we don't want people editing articles about places in Liberia into British spelling. There's already a posse of anonymous editors who waste time turning articles about non-English-speaking places from American into British English. We shouldn't encourage them to overextend themselves. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:35, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't agree that reasonable readers would conclude this, but I have clarified the descriptions to reduce the scope for misinterpretation by unreasonable editors. Ground Zero (talk) 01:18, 9 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much appreciated. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:20, 9 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Funny how we get the opposite too (see the history of Singapore ;)). I'd wish we used some sort of banner heading telling you which convention to use. Wikibooks does something like that for some of their pages (most notably their Harry Potter books) SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:11, 11 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neutral articles[edit]

I stumbled across this at Wikivoyage:Discover, and about the Frequent flyer programs, although it was originally named as "Frequent flyer programmes" before a unilateral move was taken (there was no consensus to move to the Canadian/Australian spelling in 2020). Given how this policy contradicts itself on:

If the destination has no history of using English and no clear preference for the variety to use, we prefer American English spelling.

as well as

Wikivoyage prefers no major national variety of English over any other.

However, while that may be the case for destination articles, there is nothing on neutral broad travel topics such as this one. Personally, I think it should be the author's choice on which dialect they used instead of Americanising or Britishsizing (I made that work up, no idea what the correct spelling would be) as per "Wikivoyage prefers no major national variety of English over any other.". I think the policy should be quite more clear on neutral topics. Now two things I'm proposing:

  1. Expand on the neutral bit, in that the spelling shouldn't be changed even if it is a neutral topic.
  2. Move back Frequent flyer programs to Frequent flyer programmes as it was a unilateral action taken with no consensus, and we shouldn't be leaning on a preferred version of spelling. (and I am saying this with me using program over programme and I prefer the title "Frequent flyer programs" over "Frequent flyer programmes")

--SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 02:16, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't have a strong opinion about which variety of English should be used, but I think that U.S. English is in general the default, although I don't agree that the version should have been changed and find it annoying when people waste time doing things like that. However, I do have a strong opinion about the concept of "author's choice". Who are you suggesting the author of Wikivoyage is? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:28, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We don't have a default though. We only default to destination articles because we have no better choice, but not for topics or events, and that is up to the author. But anyway, I'd forget about the FFP given that program is what Wikipedia uses but iirc, the author was PriceGloria. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:04, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikivoyage is a collectively-authored site, and I'm kind of surprised I need to mention that. PrinceGloria contributed most to that article but is not "the author". Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:32, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose that if somebody writes more than a stub, that they chose a language variant (consciously or not) and that the choice can be seen from the result. If most other editors notice and respect that choice, the variant will remain dominant and should be seen as "authors choice". In Wikipedia in Swedish the rule is that modernisation of language and similar should not be done word for word, especially not on batches of articles, but a stylistic change can be made in connection with a comprehensive copyedit of all the article or with large additions. I don't think such a rule of thumb could be applied to language variants over here. –LPfi (talk) 12:00, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I started this thread because HS unilaterally did a page move, and for extra clarification. And to the author thing, I should've mentioned "main author" since no one owns the page, just the content they wrote. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:03, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the concept of "main author's choice" comes from Wikipedia. It's not from our policy. I don't think that changing our policy to accommodate "main author's choice" would make it easier to sort out spelling than our current policy. Ground Zero (talk) 13:08, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about "Don't change the language variety of an article, unless it is about a region where we use a specific language variety, or you are doing a major rewrite."? I think there already is something in the policy about changing spelling of individual words or passages for consistency with the rest of the article. –LPfi (talk) 16:13, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why do we enforce the French accent at the end of this English word? We don't treat "cafe" as a foreign word in the U.S., and my subjective experience is that at least in the parts of the U.S. that I frequent, the Italian spelling of "caffe" [to add: usually without the accent] is about as common as the French spelling of "café" - but neither is nearly as common as "cafe". If the Brits always use the accent, how about if we reserve that spelling for the U.K. and whichever other countries default to that spelling? Apparently, per Talk:Next-to-impossible destinations#Darien Gap with an accent, Australians rarely use the accent on "cafe", either. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:24, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AFAIK, café is rarely used in Australia unless it's an authentic French cafe, and similar to the US, caffe is just as common as café, but it seems Canada has no consistency (that might be because Quebec speaks French, so there's a bit of this and that, even in the English speaking provinces). SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:08, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Italian word is "caffè". ;-) Ground Zero (talk) 11:46, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
odio gli accenti SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:49, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are we enforcing it? I add the accent when I notice it not used in an article in British English, but not otherwise. –LPfi (talk) 12:02, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So... are we concluding that the accent is used in British/Canadian spellings, while the accent is omitted from American/Australian spellings? SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 13:13, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It also seems like South African spelling also omits the accent. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 13:16, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Cafe" always looks weird to me, as a Canadian, but I would not suggest that there is consistency in use here. Ground Zero (talk) 13:23, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The French spelling has been substituted again and again and again in articles about the U.S., so the answer of whether it's being enforced is "yes". I don't know how to answer the question of whether "we" are enforcing it, because then the question is, "Who is 'we'?" Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a New Yorker of Romance European descent, I strongly prefer café. I unhesitatingly update cafe if I see it on Portuguese-language destinations. I'm sure I've updated it on some New York articles (and SF, Lon, etc.) and will do so in the future. To my mind, "cafe" rhymes with "cave", so the accent is needed to make it the correct word. The Italian language seems a bit more relaxed about accents, but if I encounter caffe rather than caffè, I will be very tempted to correct it. I think the main issue is that Anglophones are not familiar with how to type diacritics. I find it easy on my Mac, but I always had to search or copy-and-paste on those rare occasions when I needed an accent on my Windows PC at work. (If you'd like more NelsonRanting, just mention facade/façade.) --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 18:42, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not arguing against using the French spelling in articles about Portugal, but since you're a New Yorker, you're well aware that "cafe" is the overwhelmingly common default spelling here and in the rest of the U.S. Therefore, I think you should put your preference aside and respect this as a spelling difference between English language versions. Also, "cafe rhymes with cave"? You can't be serious! With all the weirdnesses of English spelling, with cough, dough, plough and tough and nary a rhyme between them, to argue that any adult or reasonably knowledgeable teenager will mispronounce "cafe" because that spelling doesn't use a French accent aigu is ridiculous. Feel free to correct expressions still treated as French borrowings, such as "vis-à-vis"; even "façade" is a common enough spelling that I find it fine to use in articles about American destinations. Cafe is such a common word, you might as well be arguing that we Americans should adopt "coupé" instead of "coupe" for cars. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:25, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do we pronounce it coupé, though? (Shall I get into resume vs résumé? Hey, I'll even let the 1st accent go...) --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 22:12, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Funnily enough, I've never used the accents for resume. (Australian spelling completely omits the accent) SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 22:46, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But don't you guys use a CV down under? Or is that just the UK? --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 00:11, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't use accents for "resume", nor do I think most Americans do. You can tell which meaning is being used by context. Nelson, I'm pretty Francophile, especially in my approach to classical flute-playing. My time studying music in France was very important for my development as a musician, not just as a flutist. But I'm a New Yorker and don't believe in enforcing the use of French accents we don't use. And as for CV, it's not the same as a resume in the U.S., at least not for academics. There's a huge difference between my being asked to submit a CV (several pages long) vs. a usually 1-page resume as a performer. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:15, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I apologize if we've gotten off track. Bottom line: do we have a consensus guideline that says not to edit English words that often or commonly have accents to either add or remove such accents? --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 00:23, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not at the moment. I think we should take this by spelling variety I guess... SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 00:26, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both resume and CV are used interchangeably. But I generally use resume, and I think that's what's used more, although that'll differ by region. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 00:23, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have sympathy with Nelson's preference for spelling with accents (see my original comment), but trying to reform English spelling according to our preferences interferes with our raison d'être. We might keep to a nicer alternative when it is accepted as an alternative, but that's about it. From my understanding, "café" is not an accepted spelling in the USA, and thus it might unnecessarily break the flow of the text when not used to convey something more than the common meaning of the word, as for the French-style cafés. –LPfi (talk) 09:11, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So, are we concluding the following:
  • No accent for US, Australian and South African spelling
  • Canada and Britain has no consistency
  • Use cafe where US spelling is used
  • Exception for café where US spelling is used is countries where French is spoken but Wikivoyage uses US spelling because that's a French word
--SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:28, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose café should be used in at least most of Europe, as the connections with French are quite tight, and most European languages use accents. –LPfi (talk) 13:56, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But don't we end up using British spelling for most of Europe anyway, meaning that café should be used? SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 14:08, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is the English Wiki not the French Wiki. Every English speaker knows the word "cafe". That doesn't change just because they travel to Europe. We don't really need to use accents on cafe in any articles. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:55, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We don't need to, but I think we should. Just as we write cafe for articles on the USA. Consistency is good for the reader. This is of course a minor detail, but I'd certainly not like somebody changing café into cafe in Lyon, just because they like that spelling better. It seems both spellings are used in British English, but I think we should use the accented version for Europe (and perhaps for all British spelling), as for most places that's what people will see anyway. If writing accents is hard for somebody, then somebody else can change it, no problem. (But I don't understand why not everybody can have sensible keyboards: with my Finnish one I can write anything from Sámi to Polish with no problems, using AltGr and Compose.) –LPfi (talk) 16:22, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I must dispute the assertion that "café" is not an accepted spelling in the USA. Not only is it accepted, but Merriam-Webster, the nation's premiere dictionary, prefers it, calling the unaccented version a less-common variant.é --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 19:51, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Nelson Ricardo 2500: when you say "I must dispute the assertion that "café" is not an accepted spelling in the USA", were you meant to say "I must dispute the assertion that "café" is an accepted spelling in the USA" since that's contradicted in "Not only is it accepted"? SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:09, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
LPfi stated, '"café" is not an accepted spelling in the USA'. I disputed that statement, and provided a reliable source to back my position. --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 20:57, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh wait, never mind that was me misreading that. Sorry about that. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 22:38, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"We don't really need to use accents on cafe in any articles." No, because British and Canadian spelling mostly use the accent, and it doesn't make sense to omit the accents there, just because the US and Australia became sloppy with the accent. And re the French speaking countries in Africa, we only use US spelling because we don't know what other variety to use (and I doubt they'll care anyway). SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 00:48, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Nelson Ricardo 2500, LPfi, ChubbyWimbus, Ikan Kekek, Ground Zero: I plunged forward, and drafted a little note on cafe which is currently in invisible text. However, I didn't include about French speaking countries that end up using American spelling, because we still don't have consensus on that. (again CW, technically in French speaking Africa, cafe is not a correct spelling in these countries). Feel free to copyedit it :-)

re the unclear US, my experience is that cafe is used, but that's mostly on the west coast. IIRC, some cafes in Orlando used the accent, but iirc, it was an authentic French cafe.

I didn't get into resume and coupe, as I think those aren't necessary for a travel guide, although there's no harm on adding coupe and coupé, as well as résumé and resume. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 13:44, 25 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For résumé and coupé we could perhaps state the rule in more general terms: "The same rule of thumb can be used for other words that more often omit the diacritical marks in American spelling, such as résumé/resume and coupé/coupe." For countries where French is common, I suppose locals would expect the accents, and there is no real reason for us to omit them (only the arbitrary preference for American spelling). –LPfi (talk) 14:20, 25 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Caffe Cafe, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, USA 2021-09-25
Until someone provides a better reliable source that says the opposite of the Merriam-Webster link that I provided, I will not accept cafe without the accent as the preferred U.S. spelling. On a related note, I was walking in Bay Ridge today, and came upon the pictured monstrosity. I was truly "shook", as the kids say these days. It only worsens on their Facebook page. Their profile image has an accent on the first e, pointing the wrong way!!!; still no accent on the second e. I'm going to need a lie-down in order to recover from this whole ordeal. --Nelson Ricardo (talk) 04:34, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nelson has done a good job in convincing me that both are used. @Ikan Kekek: now it's all on you to prove that no accent is the way, as I've just gone confused here. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 04:50, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Oxford Dictionary has "cafe", but more importantly, "cafe" is just what most Americans use. A simple random search of Pennsylvania cafes (in which "cafe" is actually part of the name) showed 18/20 using "cafe" and just 2/20 using the accent, 13/17 in Miami used "cafe". 18/22 in St Louis, 12/13 in Cheyenne, 21/25 in Phoenix, 20/25 in Boston (Boston also used "caffe" with and without the accent a few times which was not seen anywhere else), 24/27 in Honolulu... I didn't look into the accented ones to see if any were meant to be French, foreign-owned, etc., but there is a very clear preference towards "cafe" unaccented. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:38, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
True, but still what about all the places you didn't mention? And we still haven't sorted out Francophone Africa. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:42, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you really think that Miami, St Louis (Missouri), Cheyenne, Phoenix, Boston, Honolulu (and random eastern PA locations) are not diverse enough representatives? They are located in very different parts of the country. If you're suggesting that I left out majority-accent usage cities either by chance or on purpose, you are welcome to look up whatever "other" cities you are thinking of. I'll add Portland (18/22), San Francisco (23/24) and Baltimore (21/24), but I don't think it's fair to dismiss my evidence (which is already much better than just citing a dictionary) on the basis that I didn't cite every US city. There is no need to be cheeky. Just cite all of your counterexamples of cities where the accented word is preferred. Otherwise, it's fair to assume this is a consistent trend. The fact that I chose cities and they clearly favor the unaccented word though, should show that it's not likely to skew away from the unaccented "cafe" given that cities have more residents and visitors from around the world. I suspect if I chose smaller towns, it would push the results even further in favor of the unaccented. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 13:31, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The reason I dropped out of this discussion is that when an American dictionary contradicts my empirical experience as an American, even if one who has probably traveled to fewer states than ChubbyWimbus, I don't see how I can "prove" that what M-W considers the "preferred" spelling is actually a minority spelling. I appreciate ChubbyWimbus' line of argument above. I'd suggest that the French spelling would be almost universal in much of Louisiana, but if it isn't the default in New York City, I'm not sure where else in the U.S. it might be. But asking me to "prove" this one way or another is just conceding the point. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:32, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Francophone Africa[edit]

I think it is clearer to have a new section, although the theme is mentioned a few times above. There is now a suggested section on the page.

We now tell about Francophone countries (read: countries where French is an official language, or with strong ties to France) in American English per the "no clear variety" rule. For the accents, though, locals will probably be influenced by the French spelling, especially regarding loan words from French. In accordance with the spirit of our rule on choosing English variant depending on local usage, the suggested section says to write out the accents (read: diacritics) in words were they are acceptable in (American) English.

To keep consistency, I think that we shouldn't write individual words according to British spelling in text generally following American spelling. In many words the accents are accepted in both varieties, although more seldom used in American spelling. We could of course use British English for all these countries, to avoid a separate rule, after all the choice of American English is arbitrary.

LPfi (talk) 14:58, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't have a strong opinion about this, but if we're talking about French borrow words like café, we should obviously use the French spelling in articles about Francophone countries, regardless of what variety of English we otherwise use. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:34, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We already have a bunch of anons turning some of these articles from US to UK spelling, and I don't blame them for them getting taught that British spelling is the one that they learn. Generally, I've always thought that these countries would have used UK spelling given that it's much easier to learn UK spelling as a French speaker (par example, centre, stays as centre in UK spelling, but gets changed to center in US spelling, or something like capitalisation, stays as capitalisation in UK spelling, but gets changed to capitalization in US spelling and there's much more).
Although not in Africa, we do have to treat New Caledonia as a special case though, as in NC, the accent is dropped in English, and it's kept in French, but that's probably because they generally tend to use Australian spelling (as part of a regular teacher exchange program). SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 23:07, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I blame people for utterly wasting their time changing articles about, like, Niger from U.S. to UK English or vice versa. Absolute waste of time and annoying. As long as a consistent version of English is used, leave it the hell alone, IMO. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:10, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would blame some like Cote d'Ivoire given that US english is dominant there, but not others like DRC where both are used. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 23:16, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most of the readers of articles about African countries might not be citizens of those countries, though, and I don't think it matters greatly, so in cases in which the countries in question aren't Anglophone, I wish people would leave well enough alone as long as a consistent form of English is used. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:40, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I mostly see British spelling used, but it doesn't really matter too much. There's some really good articles out there but written in British spelling, although I don't want to correct all of them to American despite what we're meant to do as it's well formatted. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 23:58, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


But back to LPfi's proposal, I'd support their wording. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 23:59, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


WV spelling usage map.svg

I've just added a map for easy visualisation onto which country uses which spelling on Wikivoyage. If I've made a mistake, please tell me so I can fix it. (pinging @Ground Zero:, @Ikan Kekek: and @LPfi: who would know which countries use which better as I rushed it a little bit) SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 04:27, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've found at least two apparent errata: Talk:Jordan calls for British spelling, which I would expect, and Talk:Vietnam calls for American spelling. Also, are we sure American spelling is preferred in Argentina? See the "Hurlingham?" box in Argentina#Talk. That's all I've got. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:16, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Technically, per Talk:Argentina, we have to use US spelling, but I wasn't aware of that box. If British English dominates, then the policy may as well be changed. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:19, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And to Vietnam, I went off File:Defence Defense Labour Labor British American spelling by country.svg since it was already there. That map though, does have some factual errors, because in Indonesia, there's no consistent spelling, even within the government. There's also Timor which we use US spelling, although it was somewhat fully controlled by Australia during the independence war but there's again no consistency there so I'd prefer to use US spelling for that. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:23, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes Done Fixed Jordan and Vietnam. Pending on Argentina. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:29, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chad and Iran use US spelling, according to their talk pages. I don't think they are incorrect. Ground Zero (talk) 00:47, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oops on Chad. However, according to File:Defence Defense Labour Labor British American spelling by country.svg, it claims that Iran uses British spelling. Are we sure that Iran uses US spelling? SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 01:05, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes Done on Chad. Pending on Iran and Argentina. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 01:09, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On Iran and countries with similar history: I suppose they used British spelling, as there were connections to the British Empire, while since the 1970s USA has dominated global politics and been seen as the alternative to the traditional ways of life – those wanting a change have followed American media. The result is that older people have been taught British English, and that is probably what is used in official channels, while those who use English the most use American English. How we write our guides has little bearing on how our readers will communicate, so variant of speech doesn't matter much. I think we should make it easy for local contributors, as well as for non-native speakers using local travel information, but I don't know what that means in practice. –LPfi (talk) 07:53, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@LPfi, Ground Zero: I don't think Iran is that heavily influenced by the US though, especially after the Iranian revolution. And it's not always the case though, even after a country has been heavily Americanised. For the most part, countries like Australia and Canada use British spelling (although there are some obvious cases where both use US spelling), but both largely use American terminology. From my personal experience, I for the most part, have never heard of some British terms used until I started editing WV. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 08:11, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This discussion should take place at Talk:Iran in order to involve editors who have contributed to that article. The only evidence for which spelling is used in a country that we should be considering is the spelling used in English-language websites from the country, e.g. government websites, and the English-language websites of its media. Trying to deduce which spelling is used from a country's history can lead us to the wrong answer. Ground Zero (talk) 11:20, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Koavf changed dash style in a policy page, from "X — Y" to "X—Y". I haven't seen the latter frequently used on Wikivoyage, and for me it is kind of disturbing, perhaps because in Swedish (my native tongue) and British English (I think) the former is used, with n-dashes.

I often change hyphens into dashes, as I think that is a real, although minor, improvement. I don't change between m- and n-dashes ("–" and "—"), other than for consistency. Here I think the change was a change in style, not a fixing of an error – or?

Do we have a recommended dash style? Do we prefer n- or m-dashes, spaces or without? Does it depend on language variant, so that articles using American English should have one style and those using British English another? Should a consistent style in an article be left alone?

LPfi (talk) 08:29, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We do not mention anything at Wikivoyage:Spelling and did discuss this, with most users who participated being in favor of spaced en dashes and non-spaced em dashes, not spaced em dashes: Wikivoyage_talk:One-liner_listings#Ndashes,_not_mdashes. —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:40, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) I'm not too sure to be fair.
Regarding the space, I've seen both used in AmE but I think the uspaced is more common, but I favour the one with spaces, not because of any dialect or anything, but because of my eyesight problems – I have trouble reading things too close to each other, and so for visibility reasons, I ultimately prefer the one with spaces (the version pre Koavf edit). I'm sure many of our readers have that issue as well – that issue is not uncommon. So dialects aside, I prefer the one with spaces and would ultimately say using the one with spaces is better IMO, especially for those who have short-sight vision problems.
As to em and en dashes, I have always thought that n-dashes (–) was an alternate to the word "to", while the m-dash (—) was used to for breaks in thoughts etc. This is a useful guide from MerriamWebster] (note it uses the unspaced form) but I think we should formalize on whether we favour the space or not. In this case, I would want to go against the use of AmE just for this one for accessibility reasons. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 08:51, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I prefer dashes with spaces when used between phrases in sentences, but without when giving opening times (M-F 9:00-16:00, Sa...). AlasdairW (talk) 22:26, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I always use spaces unless I have no m dash, in which case, I use a double n dash and don't put a space on either side. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:25, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I prefer en dashes with spaces when used between phrases. Em dashes with spaces is 2nd best, though the em dash is unnecessarily long. A dash without spaces makes it look like joined words and that confuses my eye, as it resembles a hyphenated word. Nurg (talk) 01:34, 1 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I feel that way, too, except in the case of double n dashes (--). Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:01, 1 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, Ikan, you've typed double hyphens. Double n dashes are –– (i.e. two of –). If you have the wiki markup editing tools below your editing box, the 3rd and 4th items are an en dash and an em dash. Nurg (talk) 03:55, 1 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought n dashes were the same character as hyphens. So then when I have no dashes available to me, I would use two hyphens in a row without a space. I never seem to have occasion to use an n dash on this site. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:24, 1 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We actually have a template for an mdash, see {{emdash}}. It was created by Vaticidalprophet given it's hard to get the dashes on certain devices. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:37, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see no need for anything special, since the "Wiki markup:" menu below this edit screen shows an m dash as the 4th character from the left. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:12, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can't get it on mobile though :-(. But I'm not sure of the very exact reason why Vaticidalprophet created it, but I've interpreted it that way (and hence my use of that template). SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 09:17, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's difficult to distinguish between the very-similar-in-default-font dashes in the menu, especially if your vision is anything less than perfect. It's also useful on devices where the menu doesn't appear, as SHB notes. Vaticidalprophet (talk) 09:24, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
– and — are also available, if those are easier to type. –LPfi (talk) 10:20, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not to put too fine a point on it: the mobile version still sucks ass. I was unable to do a revert using the mobile version and used the desktop version on my phone. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:14, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

July 2022[edit]

I'm informing everyone discussing here that I have added the hyphens and dashes subsection to the manual of style. Twsabin (talk) 15:56, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Except that some of it is wrong: "Never insert a hyphen into a proper name (Middle Eastern cuisine, not Middle-Eastern cuisine)." What about "Italian-American cuisine"? Deleted. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:49, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ikan Kekek I believe that that part is correct actually. It's kind of about semantics of "insert". Italian-American is a proper name containing a hyphen already, so one would not be inserting a hyphen if one were to write "Italian-American cuisine". Since "Middle East" does not contain a hyphen, one would be inserting a hyphen (between Middle and Eastern) were he to write "Middle-Eastern cuisine"; "Middle-Eastern cuisine" is correctly labelled as wrong. For example "Franco-American cuisine" is correct (because the proper name is Franco-Americans), but "French-American cuisine" is incorect (should be French American cuisine). Twsabin (talk) 17:59, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But as this is an exremely fine point and comes down to a contested illustrative aid, I don't intend to reinclude the line. Guidance is fine as is without an example. Twsabin (talk) 18:08, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That being said, inspired by your edit, I included some guidance about semicolons: Wikivoyage:Spelling#Semicolons Twsabin (talk) 18:15, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, but I don't agree with you that semicolons generally shouldn't be used in a travel guide. I feel like you're plunging forward into too much highly arguable detail without prior discussion. However, exclamation marks generally should be avoided, because they're usually associated with touting or inessential to get meaning across, but we don't need to mention that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:54, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alright, I will remove both those additions myself, they're fine in the history I guess; someone could have an idea whether and how better to implement them, after reading this discussion. What gave me an idea to include them was my experience as a reader where I saw a lot more of both semicolons and exclamation marks in the general text than I had expected (for a travel guide). Twsabin (talk) 19:59, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just don't think we need to be overly prescriptive and detailed about style, and it's been the tradition not to be on this site. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:08, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]