The language used in CERN

While it's interesting to work in a multi-lingual environment, this often means that words from one language gets used in ways that are unintelligible to native speakers of that language.  I remember being baffled and bemused by the "since a long time"s, etc. I heard on first arriving at CERN.  Here are some common examples for the case of English.   They may help new arrivals understand the strange expressions they hear at CERN and, perhaps, help others to use English idiomatically.

The most worrying thing is that hardly anybody ever bothers to correct these misuses, to the point that they are even adopted by native speakers who work here for long enough.

Correct usage is in green, wrong usage in red.

Please don't spell names of computer programs or languages in capital letters unless they are initialisms (abbreviations by the first letter of each word) or you are still using a card-punch.  Thus:

and so on, but

Other things which are abbreviations and must be written in capitals:

Dates and times

There is a creeping tendency to write dates in mm/dd/yy format in CERN and elsewhere in non-English speaking European countries.  Thus we see 8/9/2005 or August 9, 2007 where we would normally write 9/8/2007 or 9 August 2005.  It might be argued that the long form is not ambiguous but it is plain that habitual use of the month-first long form engenders a tendency to use the highly ambiguous short form.  This is an unnecessary source of confusion, especially as people's diaries become ever more crowded with meetings.

This seems to be the result of a mistaken belief by non-native English speakers that this is how you write dates in English.  In fact, this format is mainly used by some people in the USA (but only for 364 days of the year) and in a very few other places.   In most places in the world (including all CERN Member States, most English-speaking countries and the US Federal Government), the convention is to use the more logical dd/mm/yyyy format.   Another cause of this misuse is that people do not configure their computers correctly (even though it's very easy - see the International options in the Windows Control Panel, for example).  Of course, this should be set up as default on CERN computers but it isn't!

There is no need to convert 16:15 into 4:15 PM for the benefit of English speakers.   Most of us can count well beyond 12 and it is shorter and more logical (avoiding the well-known ambiguities just after noon or midnight).