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Spelling insanity

Discussion in 'Café Life' started by Robinne Weiss, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    Moving to New Zealand twelve years ago and writing for government agencies, I had to adjust to British spellings of words. Writing for myself now, I switch back and forth depending on my audience and the setting of the book (somehow it seems right that a book set in the US is in American English, and one set in NZ is in British English). For my short stories, I often write separate UK and US versions if I'm sending them out to multiple places. Usually, I write with British spellings, and then use my spell checker set for American English to create the US version.

    I ended up doing the opposite today--using the spell checker to go from US to UK spellings--and discovered something truly horrible...BOTH -ize and -ise spellings (as in realise/realize) are officially acceptable in the UK! So the spell checker doesn't mark -ize spellings as wrong. Doing a little research I discovered that, in fact, the OED recommends the -ize spellings over -ise spellings (because -ise is apparently French). The problem is, I've never met anyone who accepts these spellings as British English. Ack! My spell checker is only half as useful as I thought it was!
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  2. Marc Joan

    Marc Joan Venerated Member Founding Member

    • Like Like x 1
  3. David Newrick

    David Newrick Well-Known Member

    I and a colleague have resisted this insistence, especially by Microsoft Word, to subjugate us and impose -ize endings on us all! We have formed a resistance group to fight against it and will never surrender!
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  4. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    I don't know about in the UK, but here in NZ there's a strong resistance to Americanisation, at least among the over-40 crowd. Kids, I think, don't really care--they like their Coke and their American pop stars, and they don't care if you call them cookies or biscuits as long as they get to eat them. Not so much resistance in OZ, and they seem to use a mix of -ise and -ize endings. But I've been bitched at by a client for allowing just one -ize ending to slip into a 40-page planning document (a document I can guarantee was never read by anyone else, nor ever acted upon...ahh...the joys of writing for the government). For my part, I'm happy to use either one, but I wish there were some consistency of use. It would make life much easier.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Patricia D

    Patricia D Venerated Member

    AmericaniZation, please. ;-)

    This is a two-way road. I have been called wrong for putting an extra e in judgment - i.e. judgement.
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  6. Boopadoo

    Boopadoo Respected Member

    As a graphics department employee of a monster global corporation sort of place, this is one of the banes of my existence. Z or S, one L or two, "...or" or "...our".

    Is a piece NAM only or EMEA only or NAM/EMEA? Letter or A4? US spelling, UK spelling, or hybrid? Or, usually, two complete versions of everything (one letter-size US spelling and one A4 UK spelling). :confused:
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  7. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    I hear you. The only bright spot in it all is mailing my US tax return on A4 paper, purely for spite.
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  8. Paul Whybrow

    Paul Whybrow Venerated Member

    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Alistair Roberts

    Alistair Roberts Guardian Staff Member

    I realize it's a bit tricky, but it seems this website expects me to realise the difference, or maybe it's my chrome browser? Either way, we only use A4 paper, end of story! There is significant difference between British English and Australian English and sadly my publisher program has never hear of Kiwi, er, I mean New Zealand English. So I use Aussie, at least with the original, and change to UK if submitting there, and create a US version as well, so I have at least 3 versions for each novel.
    Now what if I wrote real Australian? Onya mate lol :p
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  10. David Newrick

    David Newrick Well-Known Member

    Fair dinkum Alistair!

    [Urban Dictionary: fair dinkum
    source unknown
    Australian slang; v, fair or true. To proclaim a fact or truth in a statement in such a manner.
    "Na mate, I'l tell ya what...the guy come roun he-gain..Il give to em right..bloody fair dinkum mate!"]
  11. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    Yes, I generally use Aussie for my spell checker when I'm writing for a New Zealand market. There are a few differences, but not enough to matter much. Let's face it, one in five New Zealanders was born somewhere else--we're all confused.
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  12. Island Writer

    Island Writer Well-Known Member

    At the end of the day, you should rely on a good dictionary (Websters in the US or Oxford English in the UK), and not your spell check! As an editor and proofreader I use a style guide agreed with the author at the outset (usually Chicago Manual of Style in the US and New Hart's Rules in the UK). A style guide sets out how the various differences are handled eg: whether the Oxford comma is used, how numbers are treated, which date format to use, etc.

    As for the US / UK issue with spelling - remember that language is constantly changing and as you rightly say, the -ize version is becoming more widely accepted in British English. This is probably down to the influence of American TV, books, etc, in the UK and around the world.

    Please be very careful when changing from US English to British English and vice versa - the differences are not just in spelling, but in punctuation and terminology. For example, you would never refer to a car 'boot' in America - it's a 'trunk'. Americans also tend to use 'bring' where the Brits use 'take'. And then there's the awful mistake I made in my first job working at Goldman Sachs in London when I asked to borrow a rubber!!!! Your vocabulary choices are also important: lorry vs truck, fringe vs bangs as well as usage eg: sorted vs straightened out.

    I'm a Brit, married to an American - we still have communication issues! Crisps vs chips, biscuits vs cookies, aluminium vs aluminum and so it goes on!
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    Oh, yes. The terminology differences are important. I change those in my different versions of each story, too. I also make sure I have readers on all shores, so that anything I miss (because sometimes I can't remember which word in my brain came from which country I've lived in) is caught by others. But those change, too...the biscuit vs cookie one is interesting here, because young Kiwis are perfectly fluent in 'cookie' (thanks, in part, to the business Cookietime, which has its products in every store throughout the country), yet older New Zealanders insist on the word biscuit (or insist there is a distinct difference between a biscuit and a cookie). I recently used the word cookie in a novel, though the character saying the word was a New Zealander, specifically because the character was under the age of 10 and might have used the word, and because the word biscuit would be completely incomprehensible to American readers (well, not incomprehensible, but it means and entirely different type of food, and one that was not appropriate to the situation). One of my reviewers didn't agree with the choice, but my kids (teenage Kiwis themselves) agreed that cookie was perfectly appropriate.
  14. Lawal

    Lawal Active Member

    Checkmate: Usage of English Language Standards

    Consistent usage of any of the standard to adopt makes our work beautiful.

    Besides, some of us, might, could, should, would, know other forms some words are spelt differently.

    As rightly said, editing software can take our writing successfully to our targeted audience to some extents.

    Anyways beautiful, I want my audiences to read my writing the more I want to engage them in learning.

    Lawal Jimoh
    W: www.smartbankpoetry.blogspot.com
    W: www.smartbankquotes.blogspot.com
    Twitter handle: @Lawalomo99

    Get Inspired:
    W: www exaltingquotes.blogspot.com
  15. Alistair Roberts

    Alistair Roberts Guardian Staff Member

    Well I'm a Kiwi/Aussie, married to an American, so Island Writer, we are in the same boat, ops, I mean ship! And a boot is always a boot, unless it's on the other foot, never a trunk lol ;-)
  16. Paul Whybrow

    Paul Whybrow Venerated Member

    The chance of embarrassment with colloquialisms can be humorous. I lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia for three years and had to be careful not to say things like, "Are you going for a fag break?"—meaning, to take time out to smoke a cigarette, not to have an assignation with your gay lover! :p

    Similarly, an Australian friend used to fall about laughing, when British people said things like, "I had a good root through my sock drawer until I came across it." To root is Aussie slang for fucking!
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  17. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    Ah, yes, I still cringe whenever a kid asks for a rubber at school. Really? You're eight years old! What do you need with a condom! o_O
  18. Island Writer

    Island Writer Well-Known Member

    I still don't understand the American term: "You killed it!"
    To a Brit, this means something is dead
    To an American, it means you did brilliantly!

    How can "kill" be positive?! We are separated by a common language...

    Robinne, I'm in awe of your ability to juggle so many different, yet similar, languages!
  19. moonsage

    moonsage Fledgling - be nice to me!

    This is brilliant! I mean, I feel your pain, but still... brilliant! :D

    At least you don't need to use Google Translate . Fair warning: run fast and run far away from it. Once (really really long time ago) I was having a somewhat philosophical discussion online with a friend and he used "ponder" in a sentence. I have never, at that point, come across that particular word, and decided I don't want to embarrass myself by asking.. Google Translate told me that the verb "to ponder" means - and I kid you not - "fish tank capacity"!

    I can't imagine having to go through 3 different versions of work for OZ/NZ, US, and UK market. I remember when I was a kid being really confused by "Philosopher's Stone" vs "Sorcerer's Stone" in HP books. In the end, I guess every language that has cousins in a way English does, has the same problems. I have to look no further than home ;)
  20. Robinne Weiss

    Robinne Weiss Venerated Member

    Yeah, there are the same problems in Spanish. In Panama, if you ask Donde puedo cojer una chiva? you're asking Where can I catch a bus? If you go just about anywhere else in Central or South America, that means Where can I fuck a goat?

    And to me, that's what makes languages fun...
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  21. Alistair Roberts

    Alistair Roberts Guardian Staff Member

    Gee, I'll have to "ponder" that google translate!!! Doesn't everyone use that word, although maybe the world hasn't the capacity to fish out the truth.... (Yer, I really had to...) :p
  22. James Marinero

    James Marinero Venerated Member Founding Member

    In the days when I did commercial content writing I soon learned the differences - there's also Singapore English. Of course it's not only spelling - 'Americanizing' a book also means taking into account idiomatic usage. I do hate the expression 'in back' and using 'fit' as a past participle. Oh and then there's 'dove' for 'dived'. Argh! I do not publish different versions for the different markets, though I am inclined to use the various differences in the particular context. E.g. it would be unnatural for an American (US) to say 'dived' in my dialogue. Gizza tinny mate!
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  23. Howard

    Howard Active Member

    Gonna be that guy:
    -Ize or -ise? | OxfordWords blog

    -ise is a later development than -ize in England, therefore I see -ize as the more correct spelling.

    This drives me spare! Dove a ruddy bird! Dived is the only acceptable past tense of dive and I shall attack anyone who says different with a croquet mallet! =)
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