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A question of spelling.

Spelling in "American English" is the norm, but is it neccessary?

11:50 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is something I've wrestled with off and on for years.

I'm a Canuck, so I have a tendency to spell things in the "Queens English" as opposed to American English. You know, the classic colour vs. color debate.

Anyway, for sites targeted within a more localised market, I use the Queens English. For sites with a wider audience, I spell in American.

And I can't seem to win either way. Each version of spelling seems to draw about the same amount of inboxer grief from the nit-pickers.

I bring it up, because one of my favorite content/entertainment sites is a US based site that was founded by a couple of UK expats, and they use the Queens English spelling. Every time I notice this, I tend to have a "Right on brother, fight the man" reaction.

Anyone in here in the same boat? Aussies, Bulldogs, Canucks, Kiwis, whatever... Am I the only one who worries about this?

11:52 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm a Kiwi, and I favour the Queen's english. It just looks wrong otherwise.
12:32 am on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is always difficult, although on the web I think we can safely say that American Eng kinda dominates, or is that kind of dominates.

I think from a marketing point of veiw punters prefer to see what they are used to seeing, regards spelling.

For instance, I set-up and organise volunteer programs or programmes, in South and Central America...my market is the English speaking world.

I use two sets of templates for contacting customers - sometimes the American version gets sent across the pond, and the Brit version gets sent up the coast of the Americas .... never had a complaint, not even a whimper or a whinge.....yet

1:04 am on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So long as you don't stoop so low as to use the word "burglarize" instead of "burgle" or "pressurize" instead of "pressure" or add an extra "of" (e.g. he stepped outside of his front door) etc. etc. etc., the odd iffy spelling is neither here nor there.

Incidentally, there's only one "c" in "necessary".


An aircraft cabin can be pressurized, but people are pressured - just thought I'd explain now rather than later.

2:39 am on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Background: I'm an American who started reading "The Economist", a British news mag, when I noticed that US media wasn't following up on any of the interesting news items I'd heard on the Beeb. (I got a "bounce" from the Pacific shortwave signal when I lived in Ohio.)

I must confess that many Americans are staggeringly ignorant of the "outside world", but much of that can be laid at the feet of our "establishment" news media and educational system. Many Yanks aren't even aware of the outside world. They've never been exposed.

Personally, I enjoy the variety and nuance of the different "dialects". If you're a user of British English or your site is aimed at users of such, please don't feel like you have to apologize for using the "proper" (for you) spellings. Instead, view complaints as an opportunity to (attempt to) enlighten.

And please know that some of us quite like it.


1:33 pm on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm in Canada, but due to the industry we're in, we write for our US client base. Mostly for their comfort - they know full well we're in Canada, so I don't really think it would matter.

Otherwise, I'm all about spelling the Canadian way (Queen's English).

What I'm really worried about is Internet English - hopefully that will NEVER become the norm. (plz instead of please, u r instead of you are, etc.)

2:45 pm on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Actually, Canadian and Australian English are not exactly like British English. There are several variations and expressions. I have writers from all over the world. My rule to them is easy. Write in one variant, and stick with it.
2:54 pm on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What annoys me is ppl who start spking txt. Like they're still using the SMS service on their mobiles (cellphones for you yanks out there! tally-ho, pip pip). I say you should write in the language you're used to, if you normally write in US English, then use that, if you usually write in the Queens English, use that, or whatever derivative you normally use cobber... ;)

I'm in the UK by the way, and all my content is in the Queens English (or as close as I can get to it!) I never ever use 'ize' but 'ise', even though google wants to correct my spelling to the US version every time!

5:01 pm on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately Queens English is diminishing. Just look at MS Word - it is defaulted to American English and when you change it to UK English the spell check still reverts back every now and then.

My website's main customers are UK based. However I also sell a lot to the USA. I use Queens English. The only time I use American is like this 'please send your cheque (check) to....'

I also agree about text speak. I know a few people who always use u rather than you, 2 rather than to/too. Bloody annoying. No wonder so many children (kids) have trouble spelling.



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