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Thread: NZ vs US vs British English: -ize, -ise

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  1. #1
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    Default NZ vs US vs British English: -ize, -ise

    US spelling?

    As has been said before on the forum (by me, here http://www.enz.org/forum/archive/ind...30160-p-2.html)...

    And while we're having another tour of British/American spelling... '-ize' and '-ization' are not 'American spellings', despite what many British people may have been told by their primary school teachers. (All that follows can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary - I didn't make it up.)

    Back in the days (around 1600) when printing was gaining ground, and spelling was becoming standardized rather than a matter of personal choice, it was normal to use the 'z', standing as it did/does for the noise pronounced when speaking those words. The few writers among the settlers who went to America took this with them, and it continues in use there. It also continued in use in the UK, in the few institutions using written English at the time - the old universities, the church and the law. (Literacy was comparatively rare.)

    Somewhat later, seizing a marketing opportunity, people in the UK started up newspapers aimed at the masses only then being encouraged to learn to read. This coincided with there being an influence on the language from French, where there are a lot of words derived from Latin which use '-ise' and '-isation', not originally having a letter 'z', and the new publishers, not being part of the old learned group, latched onto that spelling with 's', so people who were the first readers of their family picked that up.

    So within the UK, there were then (and are still) two streams of spelling on this point - the original one with 'z' coming down from the old universities (which you're likely to get drilled into you if you study in one of them, if you turn up not doing it), and the newer one with 's' coming from the first popular culture. They're both right. Again, despite what your primary teacher may have told you, there are huge numbers of possible correct variations in English spelling. If you write for publication in English, you get to know that different publishers have a preferred 'house style' covering various choices, and you have to alter your stuff to fit, regardless of what you naturally do depending on what you first learnt.

  2. #2
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    Soooo many people think -ize is an Americanism; it's not!


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiba View Post
    Soooo many people think -ize is an Americanism; it's not
    This is of course a matter of perception - worldwide!

    Also, wikipedia is not really a relevant source per se. It can lead to one but needs to be substantiated by primary sourcrs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralf-nz View Post
    This is of course a matter of perception - worldwide!

    Also, wikipedia is not really a relevant source per se. It can lead to one but needs to be substantiated by primary sourcrs.
    Regarding the "primary sources" comment. Are you a librarian? I work with a number of them and they hate Wikipedia with a passion.

    Oxford Spelling first then (that's British: -ize and -ise):

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/pa...iseyse?view=uk

    Just to confirm the accepted American spelling:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/-ize

    Well, I did learn something from the Oxford Dictionaries link's table of exceptions, so a good day. Compromise! No zee, after all.
    Last edited by Chiba; 6th January 2011 at 11:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiba View Post
    Perception? Pfft. That way lies arguments on religion and little green men. No thankee kindly.

    As to the "primary sources" comment, that seems to be the latest fashion when a Wikipedia URL is posted. Are you a librarian? I work with a number of them and they hate Wikipedia with a passion.

    So, Oxford Spelling first then (that's -ize and -ise):

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/pa...iseyse?view=uk

    Just to confirm the accepted American spelling:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/-ize
    Perception is how the world is running and determined today. We may think of it as positive or not.

    No I am not a librarian just an engineer.

    The Oxford link shows a tendency towards -ise in BE doesn't it?

    The Merriam-Webster link doesn't open on my mobile; so I cannot comment rigjt now.

  6. #6
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    Funny, I hadn't even meant the -ize, -ise issue, I know that is debatable. I was thinking of the other clearly US spellings like JoJo mentioned above.

    I find it sloppy to not adjust the spelling to your target audience (I just got a newsletter form the Auckland Libraries using US spelling, they will of course hear from me )

    I am not saying that one is righter than the other, btw, and of course I used US spelling happily while at college there.

    Daniela

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiba View Post
    Compromise! No zee, after all.
    Of course, you mean "zed"

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyGoat View Post
    Of course, you mean "zed"
    Here, fishy fish... nice worm for you to bite on... Got one!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    US spelling?

    As has been said before on the forum (by me, here http://www.enz.org/forum/archive/ind...30160-p-2.html)...
    But that is theory isn't it??

    Ask one hundred people worlwide today about -ize and -ise!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralf-nz View Post
    But that is theory isn't it??

    Ask one hundred people worlwide today about -ize and -ise!!
    That's the tyranny of the majority; I'd rather be correct.

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