Thu, Dec 05, 2019 - Page 15 News List

American & British English

In the Oct. 10 edition of American English and British English we looked at the simplification of certain spelling conventions preferred by American lexicographer and reformer Noah Webster. These included the removal of the superfluous “u” in words such as colour, favourite and neighbour (to become color, favorite and neighbor) and the changing of the ending “-ce” to a more representative “-se” in words such as defense and license.

There are other spelling conventions followed in American English after Webster’s changes that differ from those still used in British English. These include the “-er” ending to replace the “-re” ending in words such as fiber (fibre), meter (metre), center (centre) and theater (theatre), and the dropping of the redundant “a” or “o” in words such as anemia (anaemia), diarrhea (diarrhoea), encyclopedia (encyclopaedia) and archeology (archaeology).

Another difference is observed in words ending in -ogue, such as analogue and catalogue, which have the variants analog and catalog. These are essentially alternative spellings of the same word. While the use of “o” instead of the British “ou” in words like colour is now standardized, both “-og” and “ogue” are possible in American and British English, although the Americans prefer analog and catalog, the British analogue and catalogue.

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)





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