1. NinniMauton
    Offline

    NinniMauton Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Finland

    american and british english

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by NinniMauton, Aug 2, 2009.

    This must have been discussed at length before, but i'm too selfcentered to pass the chance to create a new thread.

    Anyway, as I have learned english from multiple source, it not being my native tongue, I tend to mix up words from both american and british english. How bad a mistake would this be considered? Do people care or notice? Are there many authors who do this?

    I mostly do recognize the differences and know the equivalents of the words, but I wouldn't want to restrict myself without reason, and i'm lazy above all.
     
  2. Blaidd Drwg
    Offline

    Blaidd Drwg Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Well if you notice the problem yourself, why not just fix it in the next draft?

    And anyway, I'm sure an editor will catch it.
     
  3. Gallowglass
    Offline

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    Doesn't exist. Scotland, England, and Wales have their own dialects, which in the former is often referred to as a separate language.

    Not very bad a mistake. People on adverts and on television do it a lot of the time, even here where people don't speak English...but if you do it often enough you will definitely annoy some of your readers.
     
  4. Forkfoot
    Offline

    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    San Francisco bay area
    It's not hard; just remember: if it sounds pretty normal and regular, it's American English, and if it sounds all wacky and foreign, it's British English.
     
  5. Gallowglass
    Offline

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    Hehe...the OP is Finnish, so the two of you may have different definitions of normal and regular ;)
     
  6. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    American English is just another way of saying "spelt wrong" :p

    Well that's drastically oversimplified- there are a whole spectrum of different dialects within Scotland, England and Wales.

    And anyway, the OP was referring to standard spellings, not dialects, so the point is moot. The way in which criticise (for example) is spelt is standard throughout countries which use British or American standard spelling, regardless of dialect.

    And in answer to the OPs question, it really depends on your audience. If you're writing to be published anywhere in the Commonwealth, then British English is standard. Whereas in the rest of the world, it's pretty much American English.
     
  7. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    A lot of people get confused by this. . but it's not really a problem. Just change the language setting of your word processor to reflect your nationality. Any advanced/recent program should include automatic corrections specific to your needs.

    If you're using a basic program like wordpad, and don't wan't to spend the money on something better, you can download OpenOffice for free. It's a solid application that has most, if not all, of the important features.

    I'm sure you'd have to pick one and stick with it for the purpose of publishing. . A random mix would probably be corrected by an editor, or a publisher would ask you to straighten it out.
     
  8. ravenflutterby
    Offline

    ravenflutterby New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    I just want to add that I spent five years of my childhood in the Netherlands and I was taught British English at the native school (I didn't attend an international school.)

    I use British English basically because I'm British (with some Dutch thrown in) as that is what I was taught and grew up with however in my opinion there isn't much difference between the two. Realised or realized, everyone is going to know what you mean. I don't notice the spelling differences now when I read books/stories using American English.

    In a moment of patronism, I will say that the language orienated here in the first place... but honestly I don't believe it's much of an issue.
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sorry, but that is bad advice. Never count on someone else to find your mistakes.

    Every hiccup you leave in your writing increases the likelihood the publisher will drop your manuscript into the REJECTED pile.
     
  10. Gallowglass
    Offline

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    It is actually entirely dropped in Scoats. There are few people who don't know what it means, as with many similar words that aren't used in favour of literal descriptions, but then again there are few people who don't know what 'bonjour' means.

    If you compare something written by a native speaker of one of the Scoats dialects, such as Doric, with even northern English, you will find that you are barely able to understand anything but the general concept of it.

    The spelling, pronounciation, and vocabulary differences are more apparent between southern English and Doric than they are with English and northern French, from my experience.

    But in answer to the OP, it's not much of a mistake. You will begin to annoy people if you keep doing it, but otherwise they'll not really care about it if the writing is good enough to hold their attention so they don't notice the spelling differences. Vocabulary differences are more obvious, but stick to words that are used on both sides of the Atlantic (perfume and fragrance, for example) and people won't have any problems understanding it. Pronounciation differences aren't anywhere near as important.
     
  11. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,834
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    As soon as an Academy of English is formed, organized, housed in a building, and staffed by people of a bureaucratic bent in order to constrain, direct, and define the language, I will promptly dump the English language and take to the bush of Papua New Guinea.
     
  12. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    'Twould be doomed to failure anyway. Language evolves, and the more you try to repress it, the more quickly dialects sprout up.

    The Academy would immediately strangle itself with its own red tape.
     
  13. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,834
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Hear, hear, old boy. Well said.
     
  14. Blaidd Drwg
    Offline

    Blaidd Drwg Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    That's why I said she should try to fix the problems herself. In fact, that was the first sentence of my post.

    But face it, the editor exists for a reason. Think of it like the janitor at your office; be a reasonable person and try to clean up after yourself as much as possible, but if you leave one or two pieces of paper on the floor, that's the reason the janitor's job exists.
     
  15. Forkfoot
    Offline

    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    San Francisco bay area
    Y'all should just learn to speak American.
     
  16. Gallowglass
    Offline

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    Ah widnae try nae midder whit ye cad flit nae grait, if ye did air no ;)
     
  17. Sabreur
    Offline

    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    At the combination pizza hut and taco bell
    I cry myself to sleep at night because my accent doesn't sound like this.
     
  18. Forkfoot
    Offline

    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    San Francisco bay area
    Hahahahahaha!!!
     
  19. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,834
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico

    *heavy sigh.*
    *amazed at how this particular topic is vampiricly immortal*
    *it just keeps rising out of its coffin over and over again*


    Nor does "American English." No different than what happens with the majority of media exported from the British Isles, what gets exported out of America is a homogenized, representative-of-almost-no-one-in-America, "American" manner of speech. Just like you have BBC English, we have NBC English (so to speak). The fellah from East LA is quite likely to scratch his head in confusion when being spoken to by the fellah from The Bronx, New York, both of them being English speakers. We just don't really export these differing American manners of speech on television, and only occasionally in movies.
     
  20. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Is it true that the UK version of Life on Mars was subtitled when shown in the US?
     
  21. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Not always, true, unfortunately. My program doesn't use the right spellings. Canadian is more often than not the same as British (as if we needed to confuse the OP even more) It drives me crazy to see words like colour (British) underlined because I didn't spell it color (American) I never understood why the Americans decided to take out the U.

    Banzai, very often people from the UK (mostly Scottish) are given subtitles on American shows. I understand them 99 percent of the time, but Scottish, and some English and Irish, accents can be very hard to understand if you aren't used to them.
     
  22. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    I suppose. I grew up around the Manchester area, so understand the accent perfectly.

    Now subtitling Taggart is another matter, because even I'll admit that I haven't the faintest clue what they're saying half of the time.


    And my word processor has a nasty habit of switching to US English of its own accord, which really winds me up. Colour is the correct spelling you stupid machine.
     
  23. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,834
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Never saw that show, but I have seen the occasional show on Discovery Channel give subtitles for speakers from the U.K. I agree that it's a bit silly, but, then again, I didn't grown up in the more rural parts of the U.S. where accents sufficiently different from what is heard in rural areas might be difficult to understand. But to give balance, I have seen subtitles given in American shows to speakers of particularly strongly accented, regional, American English. Go figure. *shrug*

    The omission of the U in the word color is part of a larger pattern of dropping the U in a whole host of words that end in our in other English speaking countries. I'm sure this isn't news, but it does mark this change as a natural bit of linguistic flux. Flux requires no reason, it just is. My only sadness is that the founding fathers didn't fix all the ough and augh words while they were at it. I know perfectly well why those words are spelled that way, but to hold on to such an archaic non-representative spelling is just folly.
     
  24. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Fair enough. I've never seen any American shows here subtitled, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any :p

    And you should definitely watch Life on Mars (the UK version). I have a feeling you'd love it.
     
  25. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    You're right. Not one word in this quote is news to me. My book stores and libraries have more American books than Canadian, so I see the differences in spelling all the time. The libraries have to put little red stickers on the books so we know they are Canadian. I know that change naturally happens, but there are reasons, and I was curious about the reason for that specific change.
     

Share This Page