Apparently I Cannot Spell

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Tom Locke, May 28, 2015.

  1. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I've been doing some writing work for a US-based company. Something I didn't take into account was the differences between UK and US spelling. I made the heinous mistake of using the word 'travelling' when, of course, I should have omitted an "l''.

    Result: an explosion of rage from the editor, who lambasted me for my inability to spell.

    Yes, we remain divided by a common language.
     
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  2. John Donovan

    John Donovan Active Member
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    Well, given the fact that UK and US English has its differences, I'm guessing it's completely natural for a US speaker to make a few mistakes when submitting a piece of work in UK English and vice versa. I don't think that his reaction was justified at all.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Apparently, letters (particularly vowels) grow on trees in England. We are not so wasteful of them here in America.
     
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  4. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I wouldn't like to evacuate my vowels in the wrong place, though...
     
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  5. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm American, and I've always spelled it with 2 LLs. I don't recognize differences between the UK/USA/Canadian spellings, as a problem, nor do I think they're a reason to lambast someone. Where I'm from, we use the UK spelling storeys, rather than storys (<--always looks incorrect to me) of a house. I used to pull deeds and other legal documents, and saw it that way many times. Maybe it's because Massachusetts started out as a British colony, I'm not sure, but I find either acceptable.
     
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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    In the US, traffic is traveling in the right lane, while in the UK it is travelling in the left lane.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    There is right, and then there is wrong.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    What annoys me is the pretentiousness of theaters in the United States inverting the letters to spell theatre. I could accept that from those New England theaters that have been around since before Americans learned how to spell the word, but then the theater groups and community theaters began spelling it that way, and now I'm seeing movie theaters in Montana doing that.
     
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  9. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I've just seen a vision of the future...next time, I'll use one 'l' and get panned by an editor who comes from Boston.
     
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  10. John Donovan

    John Donovan Active Member
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    Haha, I guess that's inevitable. As long as there is more than one type of people in the world, you can never please everyone. If I were you, I would make myself a cheat sheet with all the differences between American and British English, at least the most common words/mistakes. In this way, you would be able to look at it whenever you write for another British editor and avoid getting yelled at. :)
     
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  11. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I just hope I never have to write something about travelling to a theatre that is 200 metres away or discuss their cancellation policy.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    For the record, even though the British haven't really learned the language very well, we do accept British spelling here.
     
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  13. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    That gom* of an editor didn't!

    * Cork slang (gom = idiot, fool)
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Good idea!
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/british-and-american-spelling
     
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  15. John Donovan

    John Donovan Active Member
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  16. Jenn Windey

    Jenn Windey Active Member
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    I can totally feel your pain- I used to write blogs extensively for a company that was based in the UK, one of the things that I found that helped was to run the blog through Microsoft Documents, just set the spell/grammar check to UK instead of American English. there are other little subtle nuances that are different from American to Canadian to British terminology, the one that always sounds wrong to me is that it is only here in the States that extensive use of determiners is the norm. Being so close to Canada you would think I would be used to the difference but I swear to you if I was in Toronto and I got hurt and someone said they were going to take me to hospital I would shout back" Take me to THE hospital. " I know it is picky but it sounds weird with no "the."

    Another thing I notice is in this region we have a very weird way of speaking. There are many phrases that sound very Canadian, no doubt from all the Hockey we love, but then there are some words that I know have come from the areas closer to Pennsylvania. If you asked my mother for some milk she would give you maalk, if you asked my co-worker about the creek he would tell you it was a crick. Half the time people are not even aware that they are saying something strange. I used the word "pronunciate" yesterday and this lady asked me if I made the word up- go figure.
     
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  17. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Once I started studying other languages, my spelling went out the window. I'm always forgetting whether theater is re or er, because it's reversed in French.
     
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  18. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Of course, French was a language used in England for a long time. While one of the most famous kings, Richard I, was born in England, he barely spoke a word of English. In medieval times, much of the nobility was French (Norman) and French was used in legal proceedings and documents. It's not surprising, therefore, that many present-day English words have their origins in French.
     
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  19. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I have seen people in the USA sticking to "learnt" rather than "learned" or using double Ls in words which American spelling doesn't require more than one.

    However differences are more noticeable in words that meaning the same are evidently more than one letter different, such as jewellery and jewelry, or in others which spelling has nothing to do one another, like in the case of luggage for baggage.
     
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  20. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    We all carry a lot of language baggage with us in life.;)
    [​IMG]
     
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