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    Hyphens in English-, German- and Chinese-speaking staff?

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    Hyphens in English-, German- and Chinese-speaking staff?

    Comment
    Gibt es eine feste Regel bei Aufzählungen mit zusammengesetzten Wörtern im Englischen?
    Author Siss (1091233) 23 Feb 16, 16:07
    Comment
    You might want to indicate whether you are asking about BE or AE. If I understand the question correctly, for AE, rule 7.89 in the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. is applicable (sort of):

    »Hyphen with word space. When the second part of a hypenated expression is omitted, the hyphen is retained, followed by a word space.

    fifteen- and twenty-year mortgages
    Chicago- or Milwaukee-bound passengers
    [...]«

    I haven't found anything specific to comma-separated lists yet, but it seems to follow by natural extension from the above that one would write

    English-, German-, and Chinese-speaking staff.

    I am not a language maven, so you might want to stick around for a second (or even third) opinion.
    #1Author Norbert Juffa (236158) 23 Feb 16, 16:30
    Comment
    I would write either English, German and Chinese-speaking staff, or to avoid the potential ambiguity, English-speaking, German-speaking and Chinese-speaking staff.

    (Those dangling hyphens in English are a pet-hate of mine, but that's probably because I'm a dinosaur.)
    #2Author amw (532814) 24 Feb 16, 18:19
    Comment
    #2: Those dangling hyphens in English are a pet-hate of mine

    They're AE, aren't they? I'm used to them now, but I don't recall being taught them at school 30-odd years ago.
    #3AuthorKinkyAfro (587241) 24 Feb 16, 18:34
    Comment
    #2: "I would write either English, German and Chinese-speaking staff, or to avoid the potential ambiguity, English-speaking, German-speaking and Chinese-speaking staff."
    But simply by inserting those pet-hates of yours, you can avoid all ambiguity or being unnecessarily wordy. Seems a small price to pay, in my view! :-)

    #4Author Spike BE (535528) 24 Feb 16, 18:50
    Comment
    "I would write either English, German and Chinese-speaking staff, or to avoid the potential ambiguity, English-speaking, German-speaking and Chinese-speaking staff."

    I agree. This is an uncommon usage in AE. I've seen phrases like English- and German-speaking staff, but I've never seen it with three or more in a series, separated by commas: English-, German-, and Chinese-speaking staff.  

    I think most people would probably write English, German, and Chinese-speaking staff, even if it's not strictly parallel.
    #5Author eric (new york) (63613) 24 Feb 16, 19:24
    Comment
    Most people would probably write "English, German, and Chinese-speaking staff"

    Am I the only one who would interprete this as "staff who are English plus staff who are German, plus Chinese-speaking staff regardless of their nationality"?
    #6Author Norbert Juffa (236158) 24 Feb 16, 20:08
    Comment
    Thanks to all your comments. Yes, there are English and Chinese and German staff members, but not all of them speak all three.
    #7Author Siss (1091233) 24 Feb 16, 20:19
    Comment
    #7
    So now we have at least three potential meanings to consider:
    (1) English staff, German staff, and Chinese-speaking staff
    (2) English-speaking staff, German-speaking staff, and Chinese-speaking staff
    (3) Staff who speak English, German, and Chinese
    #8AuthorMikeE (236602) 24 Feb 16, 23:26
    Comment
    Based on the original post, I thought we are talking about MikeE's (2), thus my suggestion in #1, but Siss's reply in #7 has now thrown me into a state of confusion.
    #9Author Norbert Juffa (236158) 24 Feb 16, 23:33
    Comment
    You can probably avoid hyphens here.

    (All) staff who speak E, G, or C.
    #10AuthorHappyWarrior (964133) 25 Feb 16, 01:05
    Comment
    #6: Am I the only one who would interprete this ...

    Yes, probably. Most people would understand what it's intended to mean. They might think it's an error, but they would understand the intended meaning.
    #11Author eric (new york) (63613) 25 Feb 16, 04:34
     
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