[tex-hyphen] Evolving usage for UK hyphenation patterns

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Mon Mar 19 23:19:55 CET 2018

I routinely use the British English hyphenation patterns.  These are based
on tapes of word-breaks provided by OUP many years ago that were run
through Liang's Patgen.

An author recently complained about a number of breaks he didn't like.  The
author didn't tell me his authority, which is annoying.  But he asserted
that British English differed from what TeX is doing in the following cases:

Z.B lässt sich im britischen Englisch„comprehensively“ nicht
„comprehens-ively“ trennen, sondern nur „comprehen-sively“. Auch
„commentary“ wird nicht „comment-ary“, sondern „commen-tary“ getrennt;
desgleichen „interpretation“ nur „interpre-ta-tion“, nicht aber
„interpret-ation“, „literature“ nur „lit-er-a-ture“, nicht „literat-ure“,
„proclamation“ nur „proc-la-ma-tion“, nicht „proclam-ation“,
„approximately“ nur „ap-prox-i-mate-ly“, nicht „approxim-ately“,
„collocation“ nur „col-lo-ca-tion“, nicht „colloc-ation“,  „indicates“ nur
„in-di-cates“, nicht „indic-ates“ und „discipline“ nur „dis-ci-pline“,
nicht „discip-line“.

At first I thought he wasn't genuinely distinguishing UK from USA
hyphenation usage, so I didn't pay much attention.  But on checking a few
words, I did notice some anomalous cases, as follows.

The breaks made by the British TeX patterns normally agree with *The Oxford
Minidictionary of Spelling and Word-Division* (1990).  What I have now
noticed is that *The New Oxford Spelling Dictionary* (2014) does not agree
with the 1990 *Minidictionary* in quite a lot of cases.  I haven't checked
the online OED, which might be what my author is looking at.

I'm not sure what - if anything - to do about this.  I guess that over 30
years, Oxford's ideas about hyphen breaks have changed, and that's what
we're now seeing in the 2014 *Spelling Dictionary*.  Unfortunately, the
introduction of the 2014 work doesn't explain anything or comment on this

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