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Re: What is the language "British"?



Good $whatevertimeofthedayitisinyourpartoftheworld, everyone.

Interesting that this topic has produced more responses than all the Windows rants put together.

Personally, I find that the real problem is not American English or British English or whatever. I once had the privilege of listening to a lecture by John Searle (not even in an English-speaking country at that!) and it was a couple of hours well spent. No trace of, Did he spell that with a zed or an ess -- or perhaps a zee? The real problem is rubbish English -- and there's more than enough of that around.

Turning to a slightly more on-topic tack, one of the things which frustrates me with just about any spell-checker on any platform is the way in which reactions to Trans-Atlantic differences have affected the way in which we spell. For example, in contrast to most "British English" norms, I insist on the -ize ending for verbalizing nouns because that is the traditional British spelling (and Bill Bryson, bless his American socks, is only one of the more recent writers to have his rants on this put into print); but I also prefer to retain the French etymology of words like colour (even if we only retain part of that reference!). Webster may have had a political point in introducing those orthographic changes to American English when he first brought out his dictionary, just as many peoples on the planet have a point in spelling English words as they hear them, for the simple reason that that is how they write their own language (e.g. Indonesia, which has been mentioned before).

I have done enough mucking about with altering set-ups and am wondering if there is any sort-of painless way of introducing my etymological neurosis into the resident spell-checkers on Unix systems?

Yours in anticipation of corrections to every comma in the above,

Ian A
(Brit on the other side of the planet)


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