1. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    Using Locational Variants for Aesthetics?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ghosts in Latin, Feb 23, 2009.

    How would you merry ladies and gents look upon the usage of, say, 'armour' instead of 'armor', just because an author thinks it looks better?

    Perhaps 'daemon' instead of 'demon'?
     
  2. Daedalus
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    Daedalus Active Member

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    First off, "armour" and "armor" are the Commonwealth and US spellings. Where you're from determines which one you use.

    "Daemon" is an archaic spelling of "demon". It's not wrong to use it in any context, but it may have an effect of making a writer appear pompous. For instance, using apostrophes for words like: 'bus, 'flu, 'cello, photo', and 'phone. Technically speaking, the correct words are omnibus, influenza, violoncello, photograph, and telephone. Putting them any other way than what is normal today (bus, flu, cello, photo, and phone) looks self-conscious, not to mention poncey. By using archaic words, you also run this risk.
     
  3. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    I don't think "aesthetics" come(s) into it. I write "English" English because that is what I was taught and brought up with, plus some small developments as the years went by to keep it contemporary. I don't think that comparing variants of spelling across countries or continents serves much purpose; I would not want it to interfere with my enjoyment of reading and I certainly would not want to consider one to be superior over another.
    Just MHO. ;)
     
  4. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Spellings have also changed through different time periods. For example, if your book takes place in 1800's the spelling of common words might look very different.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Daemon wouldn't bother me because it's the same as writing "faerie" instead of "fairy." But with words like "armour" there is a nationality thing to it. Readers may not mind, but you don't want to take a chance that it will or will not matter to publishers. Use the spelling that is considered correct in the country you are submitting it in.
     
  6. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    My question meant more along the lines of...

    "How would you feel when reading a variant of a word you're not used to, especially from an author you wouldn't expect to use said variant." For example, I enjoy using "armour" instead of "armor" because I find it aesthetically pleasing, although the rest of my spelling doesn't conform to that.

    My apologies if I was unclear.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how i would 'feel' is annoyed that the writer was being pretentious/pompous/priggish... and wouldn't read any further, if it seemed to be a habit...
     
  8. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    That's not much of an assumption I can understand, but... alright.
     
  9. ManicParroT
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    ManicParroT Contributing Member

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    I'd be put off if they used inconsistent spelling - switching between Commonwealth and American variants. Beyond that, I barely notice.
     
  10. apathykills
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    apathykills Contributing Member

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    I'd just assume the editor did a piss poor job and the writer can't spell. That is if i noticed the spelling errors.

    Using incorrect spelling like "vampyre" and such is considered poncy and uppity and turns most readers away from the book. No one wants to read a book they feel is pompous.

    Well except for pompous people.
     
  11. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    That's a rather disheartening generalization. Oh, well. Thanks for clearing that up.
     
  12. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Depending on the words, I might think, "This writer is British," or else they're trying to sound more formal or archaic on purpose. (I must admit I feel the same way when I see spellings like "faerie" and "magick"--I realize the writers have their own reasons for doing that, but it still strikes me as overly formal.) Then I'd just forget the weird spelling and read on.

    Aesthetics doesn't enter into it for me. I don't recall that I've ever once thought that one spelling of a word looks prettier than another. I don't notice things like that. I notice if the story is done well or not. There are some writers who can string words together to create a more aesthetically pleasing picture than others, but still, I don't sit there and marvel over every single word and how it's spelled. It's the whole that attracts me, not the little pieces.

    That's just me though. If you feel like using "daemon," go for it, but know that for some readers it really won't matter.
     
  13. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    You were very clear. I read both Canadian and American books, so I don't even notice it. But the fact is, while you can get away with words like daemon, just like other writers have been able to get away with faerie, which are acceptible spellings no matter what dialect or nationality you are using, it's not the same for words like armour and colour.
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I wouldn't give a crap if I read armour or armor in a book. Can I say crap?

    But daemon might put me off. I wouldn't stop reading a good story because of it, though. I am not so picky that I would stop reading for such a small thing as how the author spells a word. Now if that atuhor in every way possible came off as snotty, I wouldn't like her voice and I would stop reading.
     
  15. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    A Britsh publication should have British spelling and terms, and a US should use American. And writers shouldn't try to put on airs by using another country's terms e.g. British writers using 'sidewalk' instead of 'pavement', or American writers supposedly writng about an English person putting obviously American English in their mouths. This is what research and editing is about. No excuse for inaccuracy. It looks pathetic.
    And archaic spelling had better have a reason e.g. an old book title. Not often there is one.
     
  16. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    Ah! You know, when I posted that, I thought to myself, "Perhaps I should say something about Rei apperently understanding my question." but I decided against it. Otherwise, thanks for all your guys' responses.
     
  17. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Wow! I find it absolutely APPALLING that folks in general, and the folks here, specifically, find it 'pompous' or 'arrogant' to use the technically 'correct' way of writing things!

    That simply amazes me! Are we so prideful that we find proper usage of words pretentious?
    "Why! I would never do that, and thus; he should not, either! Who does he think he is? Writing properly!"


    I mean, I would find 'daemon' annoying since I automatically say 'day-men' when I read it, but I would not find the word 'omnibus' to be arrogant!
    Just. . . wow.

    "Omnibus!!?! You pretentious twit!"

    Tut, tut.
     
  18. Daedalus
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    Daedalus Active Member

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    The only people who say "omnibus" are people trying to sound important and posh. It's poncey, pathetic, and pretentious. "Hey, John, I went down to the depot and got on omnibus number twenty-one!"

    No one says "influenza" other than doctors.

    These words are archaic, and using archaic words gives them impression of trying to be different -- oftentimes in a bad way.
     
  19. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Most editors and publishers want consistency in spelling. If you use one UK spelling, they want you to use all UK spelling.

    Silly editors.
     
  20. Every
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    English isn't my first language, so I wouldn't know. BUT I would get annoyed if a writer used old Dutch spelling in his book, because it just seems a bit pretentious. So I guess that would go for the English spellings as well, if my English were better.

    It totally depends on the character or time-period of the story though, in a lot of cases you could get away with this spelling, but generally not in a modern-based story.

    EDIT: Ok, I just realized armour isn't oldfashioned, but just a nationality-bound usage of a word? In that case I'd say go ahead and use it! I don't really see the problem with doing so!
     
  21. Paul_V
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    Given that English isn't my mother language, I can't really relate. However, I can attempt to describe how I feel when I see extraordinary spelling: If, and only if, it has a purpose other than author's preference, I won't mind it. If the author is doing it because it is proper of the time period or location, fine. If the author is writing in a specific dialect (like British English), then fine. If the author is trying to make something (like magic) seem more mysterious that way... it's clichéd, but fine. If the author simply likes the word "armour" but writes in decidedly American English, then that seems childish to me. I can't find a better word. Immature? Silly?

    One would think that published writers would have got over silly things like "liking a particular spelling of a particular word."
     
  22. Every
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    Every Member

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    There I must disagree! Because who loves words more than writers? A writer would not be a writer without words, and every writer has his own style, preferences of semantics, and therefore also preferences in spelling.
     
  23. Paul_V
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    Paul_V Member

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    I fully agree with you, but my statement still stands. I find it childish. We have rules for spelling, grammar and the like, and one who disregards such rules on a whim strikes me as immature.
     
  24. Daedalus
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    Daedalus Active Member

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    Not just you but the entire writing community as a whole. If you live in a country that uses Commonwealth English, write in it. If, likewise, you live in a country that uses US English, write it. Couldn't be simpler.
     
  25. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I ahe to chime in closer to Ghost's side. I run into a lot of british writing, and many people I chat with online use british spellings. I often find myself using those spellings completely without noticing. Especially an example like "armour", because that was the first way I had seen it spelled. Whenever I see "armor" I do a double-take, and then I remember this is American writing. So I don't see the issue as one of imaturity. There are spellings I like more than others. I despise "magick" for instance, and I have the same issue with "day-men" as a previous poster. But in the second case, I understood the reason for it (referencing to Pullman, here).

    But in terms of commercial fiction, I do understand the issue of markets, and I would never support inconsistency in single words. I can be a bit more lenient for entire spelling systems, though.
     

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