Tonyblack wrote:.... Only a few hundred years ago there weren't any standard English spellings. If you've ever read any old books in English you'll quickly realise that the writers more or less made things up as they went along.
English people emigrated to the New World and they took these spellings with them. So American English is not wrong and the people using it are not lazy (as I have seen some people claim) they are merely using the English that they took with them to America. One could argue that in some cases their English is more like traditional English than modern British English is....
Even (or especially) Shakespeare's spelling of his own name varied wildly (note use of apostrophe
) and so I've not really got any issue with things like color
. In most cases anyway the 'wrong' English is generally more logical or at least phonetic, so you can understand how the colonial emigrants took what was their understanding of the spelling and when met with the mish-mash of other nation's migrants, persisted with losing the 'u'
in labor, flavor, savor
etc and other unsaid pronunciation like 'gh'
- so 'plough'
etc. True, words like 'nite'
are more perturbing, but at least they're easier to spell...
It's sillier things that get my goat - like 'gotten' as Straw Walker says which is
sloppy I think but expressions like (someone's) 'in back'
instead of 'in the back'
or 'out the back'
or even 'for sure'
instead of 'certainly'
Less annoying 'gaffes' to my mind - and because it's funny too of course - is how the same word can mean something completely different. So stuff like fanny
can be cheeky or really quite rude depending on which side of the Atlantic you say it. And bum
too of course Suspenders/braces
can be hilarious depending on who says it - soda
a delight or nightmare on the tongue and eraser/rubber
a positive outrage if used in the wrong place or time...
Language is a such a fascinatingly strange thing and how it's spoken is even more interesting - so I'm talking accents now. Like with urban Boston English you can hear twangs of Irish sometimes and in the Bahamas there's a kind of Westcountry burr going in there a little. Australian accents sound like Cockney to me especially in NSW and a definite Dutch element and sometimes an stiff upper lip drawl in the South African patois too.
And how many accents we have going in the UK is really astonishing considering what a small country geographically we are. The 'Oxbridge' or BBC accent famously was not a natural accent at all but started out as an in-joke in Regency times in high society and in the Universities so the 'toffs' started to sound different from the lower classes
More alarming is TV's influence especially in the South East way beyond the Home Counties and Southern areas with the original accents gradually assuming a faux London accent... As for modern techno-babble in colonial languages especially Indian-derived ones - it's quite amusing to hear a torrent of Hindi or Urdu and then mobile
or PC, DVD
or even hair straighteners
being laced into the conversation