Isn't it strange how the English Language works?. I normally spell words correctly(or at least I would like to think so). But take these two words: thier (and) their. Which is mis-spelt?. The thing that really annoys me about the English language, is the fact that there are two different schools of thought on the actual English Language, there is the Oxford Dictionary and there is the Queen's English interpretation of the whole thing!. I would invite comment from everyone from the General UK area!.
Yeah Bill, You're exactly right. It's amazing that your spell-checker, gives that spelling of thier!. Incidentally, the way I have just spelt thier, is correct, but it doesn't look right!. Another word that constantly trips me up is recieve, following the rules of grammar, it would be spelt recieve. Being a Radio Ham, this a word I type quite frequently. It's really strange, eh?.
Re: Spelling#137312 06/22/0305:17 AM06/22/0305:17 AM
It's amazing how staring at alternate spellings can make you suddenly doubt a word that you might otherwise have just written correctly without a second thought.
Their is the only acceptable spelling of the word meaning "belonging to them." I've never heard of the word thier.
The "I before E except after C" rule is taught in British schools too, and it does work a lot of the time, including for the word receive. Like the NEC though ( ), there are always exceptions: their,weird,seize etc.
To the Oxford and Queen's English dictionaries, let's not forget to add Noah Webster.
Re: Spelling#137313 06/22/0308:42 AM06/22/0308:42 AM
There are quite a lot of irregular spellings in English, however, the same can be said of quite a lot of other European languages.
English also has more influences than most European languages so words could have Germanic, French, Latin, Greek, Celtic or Norse roots this tends to lead to strange spelling rules. It's a continiously evolving language and is constantantly absorbing bits of other languages.
Standard British and Standard American English actually have supprisingly few differences. Some technical words differ (e.g. Petrol and Gasoline or Motorway and Expressway) however, these are only names. US spelling was re-standardised to simplify English spelling removing "unnecessary" letters.
"ou" is often replaced by "o" Colour becomes Color Labour becomes Labor
"ise" is replaced by "ize" Organise becomes Organize etc
Generally Standard UK English is used in: UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong etc.
US English is used in: USA, Canada and various US influenced areas.
However, it's becoming quite common to mix the two. There is nothing necessarily wrong with writing Organize in Ireland or the UK. It will be seen as very "american" but it's perfectly understandable.
I have also noticed, from personal experience, that English speakers are much more flexible about grammar, spelling and scentence structure. I spent some time living in France and Germany and found language to be much more rule bound. For non-native English speakers the most important thing is to be understood. Conventions of grammar etc change from place to place, from time to time and even depending on the style of language used. The only way of learning them is by total immersion.
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 06-22-2003).]
Re: Spelling#137315 06/23/0304:31 AM06/23/0304:31 AM
The origins and development of a language can be quite fascinating.
The -or vs. -our endings reflect the many influences over English. In a word like color/colour, the -or version more accurately follows the original Latin - coloris - whereas the -our ending was influenced by the French couleur. Apparently both forms were actually used in England in the past, but gradually colour became the generally accepted spelling. There are anomolies though, and to this day British dictionaries list colour, coloured, colouring, but.... coloration. There is a similar inconsistency with some derivatives of humour and honour in which the u is dropped. Webster's preference for the -or spelling in all cases is far more logical.
There are other spellings which are also more consistent in the "American" version, e.g. British defence, defensive vs. American defense, defensive.
On -ize vs. -ise, I find it curious that so many people in Britain (and Ireland, NZ?) regard spellings such as realize and recognize as being "Those ignorant Americans corrupting the language again." In fact, it would be far more accurate to say that the -ise ending is a British corruption, and a comparatively recent one at that. My King's English dictionary from the 1930s lists the -ize forms as standard, with a note that -ise is an acceptable alternative. I've seen an 1890s dictionary which doesn't list the -ise forms at all. And although the -ise spellings might be the most common in more modern times, some of the heavy-duty technical publishers (e.g. Pitman) certainly still used -ize as their house style up until at least the late 1960s.