Making the Future Female

Posts tagged “spellchecker

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…