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"Proper" english

posted by Iron Curtain on - last edited - Viewed by 445 users

[quote]Proper "British" spelling? You mean French spelling, don't you? Theatre, metre, tyre ... oh wait. Okay, okay, so tyre is British, I guess, if you ignore the city in Lebanon of the same name.[/quote]

Quoted for truth.

BTW, "British" orthography is just as correct as "American" orthography. Or rather, British Orthography is "correct" for Brits (and Australians, and New Zealanders, et al.) whereas American orthography is correct for Americans. Just as much as "color" would seem incorrect for Brits, "colour" would seem incorrect for Americans (unless said Americans are trying to sound pretentious).

For instance, I can easily make a point that "Autumn," as a latinate word, seems out of place next to "Winter," "Spring" and "Summer," all which are Germanic. Also, I could say that "Fall" contrasts "Spring" in a way that "Autumn" doesn't (flowers "spring" up in the spring; leaves "fall" down in the fall).

So be careful when saying your orthography is the one true orthography, because I could very well make an argument in the opposite direction. However, that's not what I believe. I believe that British and American orthography are equally valid in their respective regions.

My point? Rather than saying that your English is "proper English" say that it's "British English." It's a more neutral, less arrogant term.

14 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @IronCladChicken said: Though - Just to be needlessly snarky here - Didn’t a president simplify the spelling & pronunciation of a lot of words in the U.S. - like changing spelling of 'colour' to 'color' - in order to instantly raise the level of literacy in the US?)

    I lol'd.

  • One of the most fascinating things about language, to me, is that it is so versatile and evolutionary. Confining oneself to a textbook definition of language is a denial of the culture of that language.

    I'd rather live in a world with its dialects and regional language differences. Further, I'd rather live in a world without pretentious linguists that would rather have slang erased from existence.

    Oh, and I prefer the British spellings for a Wallace and Gromit game, simply because these characters are quite distinctly products of the British culture. To divorce them from that in even the slightest way would be a disservice to the world and the characters that inhabit it.

  • Hey!
    Why don't you make an argument on Canadian english?

  • @Iron Curtain said: and English is, after all, modern Anglo-Saxon).

    I beg to differ. The anglo-saxon language (also known as "Old English" is remarkably like the old norse language, and I think it is also more akin to modern Danish (or Icelandic anyway) than it is to Modern English (or indeed to Middle English). Since the norman invasion the English Language has transformed into something entirely different. A peculiar mixture of German, Danish, Latin and French, which ought to be a confusing and ill sounding mess, but strangely isn't.

    Much like the Anglican faith, the English language is strangely coherent, logical and consequent, in spite of it being in fact the result of confusing wars, political stratagem and various whims of kings and queens.

    Fascinating country, England.

  • ... I hold with the people who prefer British spelling in the Wallace and Gromit game.

    Not that I mind the American spelling at all. :)

    (I mean - if someone were to suggest a second season of SBCG4AP with British spelling I would certainly protest.)

  • This is why English should be abolished entirely, and replaced with Binary. That way, you can have your 10111001, AND 10101111001 it too.

  • @ShaggE said: This is why English should be abolished entirely, and replaced with Binary. That way, you can have your 10111001, AND 10101111001 it too.

    ShaggE, I chuckled but then immediately got confused... what did you encode your binary in? Or did you encode it using "British" binary and I am decoding it in "American" binary?

    But I am with the group that would prefer British English for the W&G game, not because it is more "proper", but because it fits the game world better and should prove to still be understandable to even us Americans ;)

  • [quote]Didn’t a president simplify the spelling & pronunciation of a lot of words in the U.S. - like changing spelling of 'colour' to 'color' - in order to instantly raise the level of literacy in the US?)[/quote]

    No. It was Noah Webster, who was not a president. Presidents aren't the only people who have influence in the US, you know.

    [quote]Hey!
    Why don't you make an argument on Canadian english?[/quote]

    Because Canada's orthography is a hybrid of British and US orthography. Some of them spell words that end in "-ize" like "realize" and other canadians spell "realise" but they also have the "u" in "colour," "flavour," etc. and spell words "centre," "filtre," "metre," etc.

    [quote]... I hold with the people who prefer British spelling in the Wallace and Gromit game. [/quote]

    I agree, and that's not what I was arguing about. I was merely arguing against the idea that British orthography was "proper" orthography or "proper" English.

  • @Iron Curtain said: Because Canada's orthography is a hybrid of British and US orthography. Some of them spell words that end in "-ize" like "realize" and other canadians spell "realise" but they also have the "u" in "colour," "flavour," etc. and spell words "centre," "filtre," "metre," etc.

    And some of us use an hybrid orthography also in the sense that one day I might write flavour but the next one I write color. It's hard to stick to one way expecially when it's my second language.

  • @Falzo said: And some of us use an hybrid orthography also in the sense that one day I might write flavour but the next one I write color. It's hard to stick to one way expecially when it's my second language.

    Well, I'm basically talking about people who have learned it and internalized it as their first language.

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