[texhax] do British LaTeX macros exist?

Pavel Minev Penev kal_pav at sz.techno-link.com
Sun Jun 15 04:47:49 CEST 2003

On Sat, Jun 14, 2003 at 08:01:51PM +0100, Sam Halliday wrote:
> Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> > > i mean for example that i can define an environment "centre" to just
> > > call the "center" environment; and from then on, i would use
> > > \begin{centre} as opposed to calling \begin{center} directly. i'm
> > > terrible at having to remember the american spelling of things (even
> > > though the translation is often s->z and re->er) and i would really
> > > just like to have to worry about writing in one languauge.
> > 
> > i don't think it's a good idea to do it like that.  replace
> > environments such as center or itemize, in your putative british.sty
> > [english.sty having been preempted by babel], as follows
> > 
> >   \let\centre\center
> >   \let\endcentre\endcenter
> you are of course correct; to be honest i have never used \let before,
> but have heard of it; so it never occured to me. this helps me greatly!

The "\let" primitive was the first I thought of, as well. But then, what
if someone wanted to write a package that tweaks the "center"
enrironment/command somehow? This person would simply want to redefine
"center" and if you executed your "\let\centre=\center" beforehand, the
changes would be lost. And you don't expect package authors to check for
macro names in all possible languages, do you?

Besides there are some scripts and programs that parse (La)TeX code
(`rubber` for example). They expect to find some macro names and
*especially package names* in the "standard" American English. If you
want them to work after you have introduced your own localised context,
you will have to put a huge burden on the shoulders of these programs'
developers (unless, you volunteer to patch them, of course...)

And what happens if you have a friend in Japan who has written a great
long new macro using a Japanese TeX context and you need the macro? Your
friend will send it to you, but once you need to make the slightest
change (improvement, debugging) you will have to learn a new language
(if, of course, you don't happen to be a teacher in Japanese). Besides,
your friend's macro will probably have a name that will have to sweat a
few times, before you write correctly.

I myself live in Bulgaria and like my native tongue. However, I don't
think it's worth to put the world into such a trouble as a Bulgarian
*TeX context.

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