Results 1 to 7 of 7
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 5,307
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Is American Spelling "better"?

    Some people have gently suggested that it would be most useful for

    learners if they were all taught American spelling. It has been gently

    suggested that learners would do well to follow the lead of the most

    important English-speaking country (and, in the humble opinion of some

    people, the most important country in the world). Is there any reason, for

    example, to have some learners write "colour" instead of "color," or "gaol"

    for "jail." Would it solidify the future of English if we could all agree on

    one standard -- in spelling, vocabulary, and grammar?

    What is your considered opinion?

    P. S.

    I may be wrong, but I faintly remember reading that some British people

    are now saying "truck" instead of "lorry." Some people, I hear, feel that

    American movies and TV are having a very positive influence on the

    speech of our British friends -- including the wider use of the

    subjunctive.

    P. P. S. I personally am 100% neutral on this issue. It would be

    interesting to see what native speakers and world-wide learners

    think about this spelling issue.

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 4,832
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Is American Spelling "better"?

    I prefer American spelling in principle. Its introduction was carried out with extreme moderation (think of all the unnecessary simplifications in Chinese) and is very logical. The ending -ize rather than -ise reflects the Greek and Latin roots of such words; colour didn't really succeed in carrying the torch for the French couleur, whereas color returns to Latin and is identical to Spanish and no further from our pronunciation; gray from grey looks like day and may as it should...

    It's just that I grew up with Canadian spelling (British + jail and tire about sums it up) so I usually write that way. To do otherwise would take a political decision, which I'm not prepared to do at this point. Canada rocks, and the US .... doesn't ;)

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 4,142
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Is American Spelling "better"?

    It depends upon the context. If a company is doing business internationally, then American spelling has pretty much become the norm. (For example, prices/shipping rates are calculated by truckload rather than lorryload*.) "Cheque" and "colour" are easily understood by the average AmE blue-collar worker who works on, say, a loading dock and has to match items being shipped against a manifest. But "gaol" and "tyre" would probably stump the AmE-non-world traveler when confronted with such words in print.


    *By the way, "lorry" is not such much a spelling difference between the UK and US but an actual terminology difference.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 139
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Is American Spelling "better"?

    Makes sense to me.

    The American spelling is simpler and more consistent, as well as (generally) closer to the pronunciation. I mean for instance, why use "gaol" instead of "jail?" What about words like mail, snail, nail, bail?

    This with the simpler grammar, in this world where a lot of students find English hard to learn, would certainly help quite a bit.

    Besides, it would be more practical since the vocabulary would help with Hollywood movies, world-famous tv shows, most of the internet, international companies etc.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3,505
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: Is American Spelling "better"?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Some people have gently suggested that it would be most useful for

    learners if they were all taught American spelling. It has been gently

    suggested that learners would do well to follow the lead of the most

    important English-speaking country (and, in the humble opinion of some

    people, the most important country in the world). Is there any reason, for

    example, to have some learners write "colour" instead of "color," or "gaol"

    for "jail." Would it solidify the future of English if we could all agree on

    one standard -- in spelling, vocabulary, and grammar?

    What is your considered opinion?

    P. S.

    I may be wrong, but I faintly remember reading that some British people

    are now saying "truck" instead of "lorry." Some people, I hear, feel that

    American movies and TV are having a very positive influence on the

    speech of our British friends -- including the wider use of the

    subjunctive.

    P. P. S. I personally am 100% neutral on this issue. It would be

    interesting to see what native speakers and world-wide learners

    think about this spelling issue.
    I would suggest that, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do", unless, of course, you don't know what the Romans do.
    Last edited by billmcd; 22-Aug-2010 at 23:27. Reason: adendum

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Jul 2010
    • Posts: 5,098
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: Is American Spelling "better"?

    I think it doesn't make much difference. The American spelling is easier and more logical but not much easier and not much more logical. One might say we should use one spelling anyway. But I think it's also not crucial in this case. Except "gaol"/"jail" case the differences don't make the understanding any harder...

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 139
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: Is American Spelling "better"?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I think it doesn't make much difference. The American spelling is easier and more logical but not much easier and not much more logical. One might say we should use one spelling anyway. But I think it's also not crucial in this case. Except "gaol"/"jail" case the differences don't make the understanding any harder...
    Well, I think that if we consider all the extra letters of the British spelling altogether, those studying American English will have quite an easier time remembering words. I frankly don't see what's the point in making studying harder by adding extra letters here and there.

    In addition to that, British English has a few words whose spelling changes between the noun and verb forms. Another useless complication.

Similar Threads

  1. [Vocabulary] Correct Spelling of "Foxes' Hole"
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Dec-2009, 20:05
  2. [General] Phoenetically spelling "prema"
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 19-Jul-2009, 05:17
  3. American English: Is "Hello" more formal than "Hi"?
    By enthink in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-Feb-2009, 17:00
  4. spelling "program"/"programme"
    By jirickova in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 22-Jul-2008, 08:54
  5. the prononciation of "calm" in American English
    By victor su in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 15-Jan-2007, 11:12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •