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If you ignore Webster's aberrations - as every attempt to simplify spelling historically, has ended up complicating it, and he was no exception there... Like the 16th century attempt to simplify the language that had scholars adding letters so it was more internally consistent with Latin or Greek roots. Thus debt was created from det, doubt from dowt, scythe from sythe and hundreds of others, and a few got shorter - warre becoming war is the only one I can remember. The other reforms and "simplifications" weren't prettier.

A surprising amount of Americanisms, and even spellings - like recognize instead of recognise - not only started here, but were once preferred as more correct! It's only fairly recently that The Times - last 20 or 30 years - dropped "Oxford spelling" (As the OED goes that way too). Nowadays if you use that variant someone will inevitably cry Americanism. Web spell checker is, of course, whining about -ize above as it's in GB mode.

Yet it cuts both ways - there's a lot of real Americanisms that have been forgotten in the US and are never identified as such in the UK.

Got/gotten - British laziness or fashion decided gotten was no longer necessary somewhere along the line. Yet we still use forgot and forgotten. Go figure.

Given the sheer quantity of English that's been begged, borrowed and stolen from other parts of the world, I don't understand the singular picking out of Americanisms. Though the US "I could care less" clearly only makes sense as GB's "I couldn't care less".

Shakespeare's jokes and puns work SO much better in original pronunciation. Received pronunciation needs to die in a fire.

Peace. :)




"I couldn't care less" is the proper American form and the only form I heard growing up in the US. In recent decades, I have of course encountered the "could care less" form many times, but it's like "same difference" meaning "same thing": something that professional copy editors (which I used to be) will still probably repair unless it's being used to paint a picture of a character.


> every attempt to simplify spelling historically has ended up complicating it

Have you looked into Korean at all? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul is a quite remarkable success story in changing spelling with the aim of increasing literacy rates.

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I don't know why some of us dislike 'Americanisms' so much. Some of it will just be resistance to change - the advent of the internet meant a fairly sudden exposure to written en-US.

Anecdotally, I'm the only one amongst my friends who cares about these things. The skyrocketing usage of Americanisms really grinds my gears.

Maybe after Brexit we'll get an Académie Anglais to settle these arguments for those of us who still want to speak the King's.


I think partially Daily Mail fake outrage, and as quite a few of our historic shifts in spelling and pronunciation have been for fashion or affectation, a degree of having another reason to feel superior to some other group. Not forgetting the old U, non-U garbage.

Course no one ever told the Mail that some of Webster's reforms and American spellings came from Shakespeare either. He was far more phonetic than modern spelling either side of the Atlantic - as was everyone back then. Then you discover Shakespeare's spelling wasn't even consistent with himself and used at least a few words both ways - color and colour springs to mind.

Surely it will be as successful as Académie Française has been preventing French adoption of le computer, le weekend and all the rest? ie not at all. :)

It's all a bit silly. No one yells Indianism, well Tamil, when someone talks of going for a curry, yet we probably acquired almost as many from India as the US.

Edit: Hadn't been aware of of that aspect of Korea - and that North and South hugely disagree on number of letters! Most extensive change I knew was Indonesia after independence, adopting Indonesian from Malay when there's hundreds of native languages, and most spoke something else.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_and_non-U_English


Gotten is a perfectly ordinary word in Scottish and Northern Isles English.

And -ize is perfectly acceptable to many British English spell checkers. Unfortunately it seems impossible to find one that will reject -ise spellings when the -ize one is the more etymologically 'correct'.

For instance, I am using Firefox with a British English checker and it, correctly, allows "advertise" but not "advertize"; however, it also allows both "mythologize" and "mythologise" when only the first would be accepted in the Oxford tradition.

I'll be sticking with the advice in Fowler's Modern English Usage, Second Edition.


You just need to find en-GB-oxendict [1]. Oxford spelling is used quite heavily in academia so it ought to be easy to burglarise ;)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_spelling


Shouldn't that be burglarize? Except of course that in British English it would just be burgle.


Yeah - it was a joke :)


Hmm...somewhere in Scotland other than where I grew up. For me gotten only existed in US movies, and "I'll gotten gains".


Everyone seems to want the 50 year old Fowler's. :)


Interesting. My understanding is that -ize comes from the older Greek, while -ise is the French version. Which makes for a fun discussion when Brits claim it as their own.

There's a good wiki on the subject if others are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_s...


See the article on "-ize, -ise in verbs" in Fowler's Modern English Usage, Second Edition, where he makes the point that it is the French who changed from -ize to -ise.


Yes, that was the point I was trying to make.




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