International English spelling
Although the English language follows pretty much the same rules everywhere it is spoken, in order for a language to be an efficient tool for communication it has to be fully standardized (especially in its written form). When differences between the different varieties of a language become too great, the advantages of speaking a common language diminish, as its speakers are driven away from the common standard.
The main varieties of English used throughout the world internationally are British and American English. These varieties would benefit from cooperation between the UK, the US and other English-speaking countries to agree on a common standard of spelling. That shouldn't be overwhelmingly difficult since the differences are small.
And there is a precedent in the world: Portuguese. The Portuguese of Brazil and the Portuguese of Portugal showed many differences of spelling (and from what I understand, to a larger extent than English). So, a little over a decade ago, the different Portuguese-speaking countries reached an agreement which would have most of the language standardized in its written form (with some exceptions).
An international Council of the English Language could be set up to act as a guiding institution.
What could change:
(Variants: selected standard)
-ise (UK) and -ize (US) : -ize most standard spelling since already accepted by Oxford dictionary
-our (UK) and -or (US) (as in colour/color): -or probably better phonetically
-tre (UK) and -ter (US) (as in centre/center): -ter better phonetically and used in BE some time ago
-double L (UK) and lonely L (US) (as in traveller/traveler): in many cases, doubling the consonant is a rule (to put --> puTTing); make this a general rule and keep double L as standard.
-judgement (UK) and judgment (US): reinstate "e" in US form; dosen't really make sense phonetically and historically (recent change).
That's mostly it... What do you think ?
An international council would probably be a very fractious organisation. In Portuguese, you have the PALOP countries, Portugal, Brazil and some speakers in Goa and Macau. English is spoken as a first or main language in far more countries, including South Africa, Canada, New Zeeland, Australia, widely used in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc. It would be very hard to reach agreement. However, I do admire the Portuguese speaking countries for having reached an agreement and certainly wouldn't oppose such measures here. It's an issue of practicality.
I think that languages are basically self-regulating. I'm not sure that French is demonstrably healthier than English for having had the Academie.
I'd like to see changes to the spelling- the American system strikes me as more logical, but it is very hard to change the habits of a lifetime.
In Spain we have something similar:
However, I do admire the Portuguese speaking countries for having reached an agreement and certainly wouldn't oppose such measures here. It's an issue of practicality.
RAE = Real Academia Española = Spanish Royal Academy () ( http://www.rae.es/ just in Spanish but it's worth a visit 8))
which is concerned with the "union, defense and integrity of a common language". This is formed by 20 countries:
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
- República Dominicana
- Puerto Rico
Are the Cantral and South American varieties of Spanish failry homogenous? The problem with English is that there are so many differences that consensus would be almost impossible.
Yes, I think that Spanish is quite similar in all these countries. Some differences are:
- The accent: It is quite similar in all South and Central America (except Argentina). In some words they pronounce the c-sound like the s-sound. For example: [Seresa] instead of [Zereza] (as it is pronounced in Spain) for Cereza. This is called "seseo" (because of the s) and it is admitted by the RAE.
- The grammar: no big differences in grammar except in Argentina. They use "voseo". This consists of using "vos" instead of "vosotros" (2nd person of plural, you) and they use a special verb form for this. For example they say: (you have, plural) "vos tenés" instead of "vosotros teneis". In some countries, they use "ustedes" instead of "ellos/ellas" (they) but they use the same verb forms. The difference here is that is Spain we use "usted/ustedes" to talk formally to somebody/people but in these countries they don't have this connotation of respect.
Anyway, I am not an expert at all about Spanish but I think that there are no very big differences (maybe the vocabulary).
I love listening to Argentinian people, they have a lovely accent, don't they? :D
I'm not familiar enough with the accent to judge. However, it seems from your post that an academy would work. In English, we couldn't agree about much.
Well, I suppose this academy has worked because it was created in 1951 and all these countries have had good relations with each other (kind of ) .
I don't know if today they would agree to make this academy if it hadn't been created before. It seems now that things are more complicated than some years ago.
P.S. I love Argentinian accent. You can listen to Diego Armando Maradona ... :wink: but that's definitely not the best example
I've got a soft spot for the Hand of God.
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