UI Pet Peeve: Don't use flags of countries for language selection.

It doesn't work for English (Union Jack? Star-Spangled Banner?), forces Austrians to click on the flag of a neighbor country, and lets large parts of Africa only choose the flag of a former colonizer.

@johl good points. Never thought about the colonizer's language aspect, thank you for pointing this out!

That said, it would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to reference a classic:

Choose language:
🔲 🇬🇧 English (traditional)
🔲 🇺🇸 English (simplified)

(I apologize)


@rysiek @johl English is the most-spoken language in Ireland, but the English flag is that of a genocidal former colonist.
Relations have obviously improved considerably, though having websites ask Irish users to pick the "Union Jack" is very insensitive.

@seachaint @johl so, one could say it would bring some... ire?

(I am so sorry, I will show myself out)

@seachaint The *English* flag is the St George's cross [¹], the Union Jack is the flag of the UK. It's usually the English who need to be reminded of this distinction.

[¹] Now relegated to uses parallel to those of the Confederate battle flag.

@rysiek @johl

@edavies @rysiek @johl Yes indeed, thanks for the reminder. That kind of adds to the silliness with flag-language bijections, because if the Union Jack is supposed to be a language, who's to say that language should be English and not Cymraeg, Gàidhlig, Kernewek, or even Scots?

Or, lol, Gaeilge..

@seachaint I bumped into a chap on G+ one time who was absolutely insistant that Ireland was not part of the British Isles, and that using that term was an offence against all Irish.

That ... isn't a well-supported case (there are numerous references to BI among Irish sources, and none that I could find clearly articulating an alternative) but it does reflect how contentious language and symbols can be.

There are certainly numerous other instances (as this thread is highlighting).

@rysiek @johl

@dredmorbius @rysiek @johl A thing is called whatever it is called, but Ireland already has a name (several, actually, there's mythology about that whole mess), and "British" has evolved into a national identity and not merely the name for a set of geographical features. So, referring to Ireland as part of the "British Isles" has had evolved connotations and sensitivities. Referring to Ireland as Ireland is only liable to offend a small number of people, who you'll doubtless offend some other way anyway. But implying that we are British is likely to offend many more. :)

@seachaint That said and understood, how is the archipelligo as a whole referred to then?

Etymology is as always interesting if not currently prescriptive (I'm using "Briton" as "British" derives from it):

Briton (n.)
c. 1200, "a Celtic native of the British Isles," from Anglo-French Bretun, from Latin Brittonem (nominative Britto, misspelled Brito in MSS) "a member of the tribe of the Britons," from *Britt-os, the Celtic name of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain and southern Scotland before the 5c. Anglo-Saxon invasion drove them into Wales, Cornwall, and a few other corners. In 4c. B.C.E. Greek they are recorded as Prittanoi, which is said to mean "tattooed people."

In Middle English it was exclusively in historical use, or in reference to the inhabitants of Brittany (see Breton); it was revived when James I was proclaimed King of Great Britain in 1604, and made official at the union of England and Scotland in 1707.



@rysiek @johl

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