1. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    The -ize have it. American versus English spelling variations.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by TheWingedFox, May 14, 2016.

    So, my novel is written, and partly because my friend in the USA is reading through it, and also because I have an eye on the US market, is it a good idea to Americanize the spellings?

    ie, recognize instead of recognise.

    I prefer the latter, having written my whole life in that mode, but not sure if it makes a difference.

    Another annoyance is words...

    kebab(UK) = gyro(USA)
    dressing gown(UK) = bathrobe (USA)

    Anyone able to give me tips on this?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Born and raised in the U.S, and I always use -ise, and always get corrected. I also write practician instead of practitian, for some reason.
     
  3. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my Doctor Who fanfic, I use British spellings for some of the characters' POVs and American spellings for the others. Where are your characters from?
     
  4. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Thanks guys...one is English, another Russian, the others are US.

    I've been using -ize in my first draft but it feels a bit like wearing make up if you're a guy....(incidentally, I don't, and I am)

    I'd love to do some DW fanfic at some point.
     
  5. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    ridiculous shit
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
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  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It depends on the market you're aiming for. Since you say you're leaning towards the US market, go with US spelling conventions.
     
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  7. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is the point of writing, is it not ;) Portraying characters who are different from ourselves in addition to those who are similar?
     
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  8. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    I don't think anyone will care. Do what sounds better to you. As long as you're not calling french fries chips or soccer football or something else some absurd name it's not it will be fine.
     
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  9. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    An aside:

    Verbs ending in -ize are not Americanisms, although they are favoured in the US. Both of your examples above are acceptable in British English (and many other forms of English around the world). Although -ise endings are more common in the UK, -ize endings are perfectly acceptable. There are some words, such as surprise, which must be spelled -ise in all forms of English.

    Point is, be consistent, nothing more.
     
  10. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    My novels are set in the UK and I'm British, so I wrote with Brit spellings and Brit phrases (car park instead of parking lot, for example). I used to wonder if I should Americanise it for submission to US agents or publishers. In the end I didn't, and when my US agent's edits came back, she left all my Britishisms. As she said, it makes no sense to have UK characters using US phrasings and spellings.

    So I say it depends on your setting.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I have the same exact issue, but in reverse: British characters sounding like they're from America. :p I suppose if it's for an American market, use American spelling -- but have your British characters use slangs from Britain (just treat their slangs like you would ours. They don't all always go around shouting “Bloody hell!”, “Wanker!”, “Bollocks!” and the like. :p Of course, if your Brit is the foul mouthed type, knock yourself out.)

    EDIT: http://www.studyenglishtoday.net/british-american-spelling.html This might help you out a bit, it'll show you the different variations of grammar and spelling used in the UK and the US.
     
  12. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Oh yes they do. But they (we) leave out the exclamation mark [point] to avoid being vulgar.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  13. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Having British dialogue and American narrative seems like the worst compromise of all... why would British people be narrating a story with Americanisms?
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree with @Tenderiser on all points.

    Also, let me point out the white elephant in the room: Americans who are even moderately well read are perfectly aware of the spellings and terms that make up the various forms of BrE. I am as red-blooded an American as they come, and I don't go into fits upon reading dialogue or narrative written in BrE. I understand it perfectly. Perfectly. I don't use it in my day to day life, but I understand it. No different to the fact that I am perfectly sure that @Tenderiser knows exactly which vehicle I am referring to when I point to three very distinct vehicles and say "the truck". She knows exactly which one I mean. And if she points to the "lorry", I know exactly which one she means. This concern over AmE vs. BrE seems like much ado over nothing. Write the one that makes sense to the people and goings-on in the story.
     
  15. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    I get you @Wreybies, and thank you. My friend in the US who has been reading my MS, chapter by chapter, likes how I write (ie, as a Brit) with the BrE. But she was the one who suggested, I think because she is looking at it from a different perspective, to use AmE.

    I prefer BrE - well, it's how I've always written - but taking your last point - Write the one that makes sense to the people and goings-on in the story - the story is aimed at teens, is action packed, fun and set in the US.

    So I think I will write in the AmE. And think of it as a new skill set.

    And, I suppose, if anyone has issues it may be time consuming but not impossible to change the spellings/vocab.

    I may just throw in a cheeky 'wanker' though, just for fun.
     
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  16. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In that case, maybe have it be a conscious effort on the part of the British character to get used to the American way of speaking? There could be something in his POV like:

    He went into the lift - no, wait, "elevator" - and pressed the button for number 1.
     
  17. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    ....which of course, if he was on the ground floor, wouldn't take him anywhere, because in the US ground floor = 1st floor! :)

    It's a good idea you suggest, and maybe other methods can be used.

    At least when my English character is comparing something to the size of a football field, no translation is needed.
     
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  18. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    I say write it whichever way you're most comfortable with, and be consistent.
     
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  19. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Tangent (and genuine question, not a pointed comment):

    Can someone confirm that gyro is actually a general term for kebab in the US? I'd always assumed it was the same mispronunciation of gyros (specific type of kebab; Greek) that's heard widely elsewhere. Or perhaps in America it's one of those 'initially-specific-but-becomes-general' words (I'm sure someone knows the term for that) arising from that?
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think gyro is the Americanized spelling of the Greek word for the food.
     
  21. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I'm an american, I read stories from all over the world from a lot of different eras. The differences between american and british english are fewer than there is between american circa 2016 and american circa 1820, but I have no problem enjoying The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

    Celebrities and television has desensitized us to your mannerisms so a lot of us won't have to slow down and think when encountering a bristishism.

    How does JK Rowling write?
     
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  22. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    One of the benefits of reading a book written by someone not born and raised in America is the charm of reading something not written by an American. I say write the way that's natural for you and make it part of your "voice."
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In America, a gyro is the Greek style kebab. The word kebab does get used in America, but only in reference to shish kabab. Döner kabab is hard to find here outside of large cities with diverse populations. If you ever hear an American talk about a kebab, they are talking about shish kebab.
     
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  24. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    This is terribly important. Desensitization is a process all Americans should go through to avoid feeling shock or distress when encountering the cruelty and suffering inherent in British mannerisms. Even as we speak write read, thousands of unfortunate United-Statesers languish abandoned in psychological institutions, tormented by the post-traumatic stress of exposure to a British manner without having first taken appropriate steps to shield themselves from harm.

    Consider yourselves warned.


    *winky face*
     
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  25. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I roll with whatever the software tells me is correct. The spelling means little until you have to remember some weird ass name of one of your characters.

    So I am going to go with: Either, as long as it means the same thing in crossing.

    For shits and giggles use the English spelling of everything and send it to my Humanities Prof. he is sure to have a shit fit and his head will explode. (I used the English Scepticism, and not Skepticism, from a philosophy book written back in the '40s or so.) So yeah use what you like/comfortable with and screw the ID10T that wants you to do it their way. They are clearly not up to your writing style, if they bitch about the spelling of things.
     

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