realise/realize

GeneD

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This bright (or maybe crazy) idea came to me today in the form of question: Should I try to stick to one particular variety of English - American or British - or not? It came to me while I was thinking about my usage of the word "realise/realize" on this forum.

Frankly, I don't really know which variety of English I'm speaking even now. It must be some Eccentric English sounding odd both to Americans and Britons, since I'm learning grammar mostly from British sources and read articles written sometimes by American authors, and most often I simply don't know and even don't think about who the writer is and which variety of English his or her writing represents. Hence the following question. Should I go on leading the linguistically wayward life I do now, or had I better try to settle down and confine myself to only one variety of English when speaking or writing? Personally, I think the latter is a crazy idea (how on Earth am I going to make it happen?), but what do you think of it? Should I write "realise" or "realize" or both interchangeably? :)
 
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Charlie Bernstein

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Just be consistent, especially when writing. It's better not to mix American and British when you write an article or a paper.

That might seem difficult now, but it will get easier as your English knowledge grows. It's a big language. Give it time and it'll come together.
 

GeneD

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While thinking it over, I found some more interesting questions concerning the problem.

Is it a large-scale problem? How many differences are really there between the two varieties of English? I searched for them on the Internet yesterday and found, on the one hand, some minor differencies such as spelling (theatre/theater, behaviour/behavior, and the like) and vocabulary (there were not many words, in the examples I saw); and on the other, there was an opinion, expressed on one of the forums I happened to visit, that the difference between AmE and BrE is so huge that there isn't a single sentence which wouldn't be corrected by a rigorous BrE editor if he or she had to edit a text written in AmE and vice versa. The latter is quite intriguing. Is the difference as huge in everyday communication, via the Internet, for example? Can a native BrE speaker immediately recognize that he or she might be communicating with an American/Australian/Canadian native speaker? If so, do the varieties of English have different sentence structures? Or is the vocabulary difference is huge? Or are there some other subtle differencies?

The second pile of questions (in my head) is about possible mutual influence between the varieties of English. Do the British use AmE words, when talking to an AmE interlocutor, and vice versa? I know that AmE and BrE speakers watch each other's programmes, for instance, and therefore should learn some words of the other variety of their language.
 
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GeneD

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My guess is that the major part of the vocabulory differencies is about everyday language, not the language of science and similar fields. Is it so? By the way, do you recognize in which English are written the Wikipedia articles you read?

And I'm extremely curious to know to which variety of English is closer the language I speak here. :)
 
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GeneD

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While many claim that we prefer the 's' version in BrE, the Oxford University Press goes for 'z'. So, take your pick.
To me, as a foreigner, it doesn't matter which letter to write. Does such "z' usage not irritate BrE speakers when they see it used in their own variety of English?
 

Rover_KE

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Only if it's used by another native speaker of BE.
 
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