[tex-hyphen] Evolving usage for UK hyphenation patterns

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Mon Mar 26 02:57:10 CEST 2018

Dear friends,

I'm thrilled to find such engaged and thoughtful responses.

Barbara, you said,

if I had to make address this, I'd suggest that a second set of patterns be
generated, identified as something like "gb14", parallel to the german
"second set" that conforms to the new spelling rules.  of course, that
entails the whole effort of getting permission, etc., all over again.

and I agree. We need to identify someone within OUP who will listen to us.
The *New Oxford Spelling Dictionary* (2005 edition reissued in 2014, ISBN
978-0-19-956999-1, Worldcat permalink
<http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/937898337>, (C) page image attached) is
edited by  Maurice Waite.  I think this is the most recent publication on
the matter, at least from OUP.  (Arthur, I agree that your penultimate book
is a third edition.  So is my 2014 one, which calls itself a reissue of
2005; so it's also the third ed.)  The preface says, "Finally, the
word-division recommendations follow the tried-and-tested Oxford system."
It also says that it was, "prepared in consultation with the Society for
Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)."

I think there's little point in contacting the author, Waite, since he
doesn't have the copyright.  We could try the SfEP, to get some support,
but in the end we have to approach someone at the Press itself. In 1991, I
corresponded with
Andrew Rosenheim,
Director, Electronic Publishing,
Oxford University Press,
Walton Street,
Oxford OX2 6DP.

The actual tape of hyphenation breaks was sent to me by,
Ruth Glynn,
Electronic Publishing,
<same address>

Rosenheim: https://www.bloomsbury.com/author/andrew-rosenheim/

I have put out a brief online query to OUP dictionaries to try to find out
who to talk to today.



The SfEP is this outfit <https://www.sfep.org.uk/>.  The Hon. Pres. is
David Crystal and the twelve council members are listed here
<https://www.sfep.org.uk/about/meet-the-team/>.  Do any of us know any of

Professor Dominik Wujastyk <http://ualberta.academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>

Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity

Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
University of Alberta, Canada

South Asia at the U of A:


On 19 March 2018 at 18:57, Arthur Reutenauer <
arthur.reutenauer at normalesup.org> wrote:

>         Dear Dominik,
>   I’m really glad that you brought up this issue, because it’s something
> I’ve meant to contact you about for many years, without knowing how to
> start.
>   The breakpoints recommended by dictionaries published by Oxford
> University Press have indeed changed over the years, but it’s much older
> than 2014, it dates according to my research from the mid-1990s --
> ironically around the time you were with Graham Toal doing your good
> work that led to the current British English (pre-change) patterns.
>   I have over the years amassed a number of OUP spelling dictionaries
> (and still am not convinced I got the full picture):
>   * The Oxford Spelling Dictionary, 1st ed., 1986 (hardbound)
>   * The Oxford Minidictionary of Spelling and Word Division, 1st ed., 1986
> (paperback)
>   * The Oxford Spelling Dictionary, 1st ed., 1990 (paperback)
>   * The Oxford Spelling Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1995 (hardbound)
>   * The Oxford Colour Spelling Dictionary, 1996 (paperback)
>   * The Oxford Minidictionary of Spelling, 2nd ed., 1997 (paperback)
>   * The Oxford Spelling Dictionary, 3rd ed., 2005 (hardback)
>   * The Oxford Spelling Dictionary, 4th ed., 2014 (hardback)
>   To be excrutiatingly clear, the last but one entry that I call “3rd
> ed., 2005” has a colophon saying “Second edition 1996 / This edition
> 2005”, which I can only interpret as meaning it’s a third edition, and
> likewise the last entry says in the colophon “Second edition published
> in 1996 / This edition published in 2005 / Reissued in 2014” which makes
> nearly no sense, so that I think it’s a fair interpretation to call it a
> fourth edition.
>   By the way, I am not aware of a 1990 edition of the Minidictionary, I
> suspect the copy you have is a 1990 reprint of the 1986 edition; mine is
> a 1992 reprint (this may be relevant when trying to determine the
> chronology of hyphenation).  Also, I gave my first copy of the 2005
> edition to the wife of the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the
> Nobel Foundation five years ago (although this is not actually relevant
> at all to the discussion at hand ;-)
>   In any case, there is a clear break (pun intended) in hyphenation
> practice introduced with the second edition of the spelling dictionary
> in 1995.  The preface even says in its penultimate paragraph, quoting
> verbatim and in full:
>         The recommended word divisions shown have been completely
>         revised in the light of modern practice and represent an attempt
>         to find the most unobtrusive solutions.  They are based on a
>         combination of etymological and phonological considerations,
>         since overstrict adherence to either principle can result in
>         misleading or inelegant divisions, such as auto-nomous and
>         lung-ing or profi-teer and overwa-ter.
>   While completely unconvinced by the examples given, I wholeheartedly
> agree to the principles enunciated, and consider that, generally, the
> “new” hyphenations do seem to make sense.  I would like to call them
> “more American” in that they seem to favour phonological breaks a little
> bit more, and even deviate from etymology to an almost shocking point
> with classic American-style hyphenations such as “biog-raphy” (but
> “bio-graph-ical”).
>   The 1995 2nd edition spelling dictionnary is reproduced exactly in
> paperback as the 1996 “Colour Spelling Dictionary”, which I actually
> think you have, because you mentioned in on the XeTeX list several
> years, which prompted me to buy it (I’m almost certain it was you).  In
> any case, since you do seem to have a copy of the 2014 edition, you
> should be able to use it as reference because I can testify that all the
> words mentioned by your correspondent are hyphenated exactly the same
> way as in the 1995 edition (except for “indicates”, which is not present
> in 2014 -- but still in 1995 -- however it seems impossible that it
> would be hyphenated any differently from “indicate”).
> > I'm not sure what - if anything - to do about this.
>   I know: since the breakpoints have been essentially unchanged for over
> twenty years, it seems to me that it would be very possible to obtain a
> list of words from any point in this time span, and produce patterns
> with patgen the same way you have then.  I am willing to do much of the
> legwork, but would very much appreciate your assistance.
>         Best,
>                 Arthur
> P-S: Independently from the above, I do think your correspondent is
> quite confused, as many of the hyphenations he quotes (chiefly the
> second half) are exactly identical to entries in American dictionaries.
> Compare https://www.merriam-webster.com/ for example.
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