bugGNU gettext - Bugs: bug #62876, Vietnamese should have two plural...


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bug #62876: Vietnamese should have two plural forms, not one

Submitter:  Minh Nguyễn <mxn>
Submitted:  Mon 08 Aug 2022 06:46:13 AM UTC
Category:  Plural forms Severity:  3 - Normal
Item Group:  None Status:  None
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  None
Open/Closed:  Open

Mon 08 Aug 2022 06:55:21 AM UTC, comment #1: 

The Launchpad discussion has centered around the optimal behavior for the zero case. Since there’s no zero marker and no such thing as a zero demonstrative pronoun, there are only awkward answers to this question. At most, it would mean that there should actually be three forms: zero, one, and other. But this is arguably no different than customizing the zero case in English to be less awkward, e.g., “No one else has joined” instead of “0 others have joined”.

Minh Nguyễn <mxn>
Mon 08 Aug 2022 06:46:13 AM UTC, original submission:  

gettext currently claims that Vietnamese has only one plural form. This is incorrect: although Vietnamese does not inflect nouns based on grammatical number, it does have plural markers, and demonstrative pronouns also vary by number.

The plural rule in Vietnamese should be:

nplurals=2; plural=(n != 1);

To illustrate the need for a second plural form:

  • You have 1 chicken in your cart; do you want to buy it? Yes, I want to buy the chicken.
    • Bạn có $1 con gà trong giỏ hàng; bạn có muốn mua không? Có, tôi muốn mua con gà.
  • You have 2 chickens in your cart; do you want to buy them? Yes, I want to buy the chickens.
    • Bạn có $1 con gà trong giỏ hàng; bạn có muốn mua chúng không? Có, tôi muốn mua các con gà.

This is a contrived example, but the bug does have practical effects, for example forcing the buttons in dialog boxes to contain “(các)”, equivalent to equivocating in English with the suffix “(s)”.

For more information about Vietnamese plural markers or demonstrative pronouns, any basic introduction to Vietnamese grammar may be consulted.

The incorrect data was introduced in 2009 and has since spread through many other projects. The CLDR project has accepted a proposal to add a second plural form in principle, though it is currently held up by a somewhat related change that is probably irrelevant to gettext. There are also parallel discussions in Launchpad and Mozilla.

Minh Nguyễn <mxn>


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