Making the Future Female

SPELLCHECKER OR LANGUAGE WRECKER?


SPELLCHECKER OR LANGUAGE WRECKER?

I really love blogging as I greatly enjoy both communicating my ideas with others and hearing what they’ve got to say. As bloggers will all be aware, WordPress has an onboard Spellchecker that lets the writer know if they make mistakes when authoring their posts.

Now I’m writing this in MS Word and will copy the text across to my blog New Post window. When I write the posts directly in WordPress I’ve noticed a common and regular issue with spellings that the Spellchecker flags up as incorrect. I’m talking about the difference between American and British English.

So when I write words such as ‘theatre’, ‘centre’, ‘harbour’, or a whole group of words that end ‘-ise’ the spellchecker underlines the words as incorrect. The checker likes ‘–ize’ rather than ‘-ise’ and the US versions of many common words. I’m sure British English writers can think of more examples.

Now although an English graduate and postgraduate and sometime teacher of language and literature, I’m not one of those that believes in a fixed, static language and do not worry if folk subvert or evolve what is sometimes anachronistically known as the Queen’s English. But I don’t know if I want to give up all my English English spellings simply because of a spellchecker.

I know some other British bloggers feel strongly about this as our language is very much part of our identity and it can feel like an attack on our history and culture when a dumb spellchecker says it is wrong.

Sometimes it’s nice to show my geographical background by the way I write and spell certain words, although I don’t know how readers respond to this, be they Americans, Canadians, Australians, Europeans or Asians. And English is the second language for most people, so this is something that affects most of the world in one way or another.

So my questions to readers are these;

  • Should we just give up on British spellings as old-fashioned and obsolete and adopt US versions en masse?
  • Should we continue with traditional spellings and try to keep them current, even though it’s fairly obvious US versions will one day become dominant and ubiquitous?
  • Should we use English forms when writing to British folks and use US variants when writing for an international or mainly US audience?
  • Not bother either way and just do what feels right in an ad hoc manner?
  • Something else?

I’d like to hear what others think, wherever you live and whatever version of English you usually use.

Please comment…

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12 responses

  1. I stick to British forms… because that’s what is closer to me now…

    September 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    • Cheers mate. Do you think we’re a dying breed?
      Or at my age, a dyeing breed 😉

      September 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      • Not really… There’ll always be a picky crowd 😀

        September 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      • Sorry was making Sunday Lunch late, but then who wants to have to conform to boring norms?
        I guess some will always stick with the trad spelling, but when the majority go Yankie-style all the spellcheckers everywhere will convert into US Yengliss
        Do you think the English accent will survive, old boy? What!

        September 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

  2. I prefer the British form too but I’m usually confused because my language ends up being a mixture of American and British forms 😦

    September 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    • Cheers – I think I’m in your camp 🙂

      September 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

  3. Morning, interesting post, I get that a lot in the spell checker as well, words ending in “ise” and “our”, I usually just ignore the spell checker when it does that, only thing is sometimes I have a terrible habit of skim reading and after publishing a post notice small spelling mistakes so then have to go back in to edit it. I guess you’ve made a good point there, my answer I think would be is that I just use what i’m used to, and the same with date formats also.

    September 24, 2012 at 5:22 am

    • Your posts are always good – I’ve noticed any typos 🙂
      So you don’t let the spellchecker push you into US spellings? I do sometimes…

      September 24, 2012 at 9:39 am

      • Thanks. Not that I can remember. I usually just ignore them to be honest, just like I do my cleaning and washing most times! Haha

        September 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

  4. Pingback: SPELLCHECKER OR LANGUAGE WRECKER? | Mental Health, Politics and LGBT issues | Scoop.it

  5. As a Canadian, I’m stuck between two realities. I tend to use British forms, since those are what I learned, but I write American when I know that’s who my audience will be. A further determining factor is/are the whiny, separatist fools in Quebec, who THINK they’re French. When I go to write *centre* I hear some arrogant Frog saying *sontruh*, and spell it center.

    September 24, 2012 at 6:18 am

    • Brilliant – lovely to hear from you. I wondered exactly that and you’ve explained well. Seems like you got the worst of all worlds in Canada. I wonder what kids are taught now by you – British or US spellings?
      How much influence do the separatists have?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

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