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Non-native English Speakers: Which Spelling?  
User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2674 times:

Hey guys!

Before I start: Yes, I tried searching for this topic in the archive, but I didn’t find anything.

As you know, there are some different spellings of English out there. The main ones are, as far as I know:

American spelling (analyze, synthesize, organization, draft, curb, tire, centered, ameba, esthetics, color)
British* spelling (analyse, synthesise, organisation, draught, kerb, tyre, centred, amoeba, aesthetics, colour)
Oxford spelling (same as British, with the exception of -ize and -iza {synthesize, organization})
Canadian spelling (analyze, synthesize, organization, draft, curb, tire, centred, ameba, aesthetics, colour)

[* = also used in former British colonies with the exception of Canada

This is a tiny example of the differences.

So the question: Non-native English speakers, which spelling to you use/prefer and why?

Until I was about 14, I had no idea which variant I used, so I researched a bit, and saw an overview of the differences. Since then I started using the British spelling. In school I first learned the American variant, then the British, and after that it was up to me to write correctly – as in, not mix up the different spelling variants.

Looking forward to seeing your replies,

Dave   

[Edited 2011-03-07 07:15:09]

45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2669 times:

Quoting aero145 (Thread starter):
Non-native English speakers, which spelling to you use/prefer and why?

I use (or try to use) the Oxford spelling, because it is the English I have learnt in school  



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1773 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2668 times:

American for the most part. Except for amoeba and aesthetics, perhaps because I studied English at British founded institutions. I'd guess you'd get a different result if you asked a Frenchman or Dutchman who'd probably be more influenced by the British spelling.

User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2659 times:

Quoting GrahamHill (Reply 1):
I use (or try to use) the Oxford spelling, because it is the English I have learnt in school

Interesting – is that common practice in France?


User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2649 times:

Quoting aero145 (Reply 3):
Interesting – is that common practice in France?

I would not be able to tell, to be honest. But I can try to dig up some information.



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2269 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2643 times:

Quoting aero145 (Thread starter):

If I'm writing a paper, I'll use American spelling, since I'm studying at an American University. Having said that, I sometimes like to use British spelling for the simple reasons that 1) IMO it reflects pronunciation better or 2) it looks better on paper.

From your list... It's definitely analyze, synthesize and organization.
I rarely use the word draft/draught, even though it is one of the most common enemies of the Romanian people, e.g. "don't open that window; there'll be a draught" on a 35 degree day in August on a train without air conditioning.
Ameba and esthetics look incorrect.
Car-related things... I really prefer the American spelling.
Travelling and other words like it (one or two ls)... I'll take the two l solution. It emphasizes the correct pronunciation IMO.

That said, it all comes down to preference.


User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2586 times:

I grew up in Namibia to American parents, so in school we learned British English, and at home I spoke American English, so I have always been able to switch between the two based on who I am speaking with. That being said, with my having lived in America for 8 years now, my default is American English.

User currently offlinesebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3681 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2556 times:

Quoting aero145 (Reply 3):
Quoting GrahamHill (Reply 1):
I use (or try to use) the Oxford spelling, because it is the English I have learnt in school

Interesting – is that common practice in France?

No.
As far as I remember, it's the British English which is taught at school. It sounds pretty normal, we learn English not American.


User currently offlineCXB77L From Australia, joined Feb 2009, 2597 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2535 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Quoting aero145 (Thread starter):
British* spelling (analyse, synthesise, organisation, draught, kerb, tyre, centred, amoeba, aesthetics, colour)

British English for me here as well, the suffixes are spelt as -ise not -ize. The only time I would use the American spelling is if I'm doing an essay in which I quoted an American publication, and I would notate that spelling with [sic], acknowledging that it's not how the word is generally spelt but it is a direct quotation of the reference.



Boeing 777 fanboy
User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2514 times:

Quoting sw733 (Reply 6):
I grew up in Namibia to American parents, so in school we learned British English, and at home I spoke American English, so I have always been able to switch between the two based on who I am speaking with. That being said, with my having lived in America for 8 years now, my default is American English.

You can speak American English out of a text spelled the British way and vice-versa – so you can switch between both spellings without problems?

Quoting sebolino (Reply 7):
No.
As far as I remember, it's the British English which is taught at school.

That would make more sense at least.

Quoting sebolino (Reply 7):
It sounds pretty normal, we learn English not American.

I’m only talking about spelling, not pronuncation.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 8):
The only time I would use the American spelling is if I'm doing an essay in which I quoted an American publication, and I would notate that spelling with [sic], acknowledging that it's not how the word is generally spelt but it is a direct quotation of the reference.

I think that’s the only correct way – just like when one quotes an old text in German, one must copy the old spelling, even if one writes with the new spelling:

“Konrad Adenauer sagte, dass „die Abflußanlagen in Erlangen erneuert werden müssen“” (in the new German spelling, the “ß” becomes “ss” if the vocal is short)


User currently offlinecasinterest From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2508 times:

Quoting aero145 (Thread starter):
ameba, esthetics

I don't think these are American. If so they are not used.



Older than I just was ,and younger than I will soo be.
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2491 times:

Quoting aero145 (Reply 9):
You can speak American English out of a text spelled the British way and vice-versa – so you can switch between both spellings without problems?

Yes, I have no issues switching between the two, including most (not all) slang. Between my upbringing and constant travel for my job, I have been lucky enough to use both types of English on an almost daily basis.

The slang is a bit different, as I grew up on mostly South African and American slang, so once in a while I can get some British and Australian slang wrong (but I can usually get it).

[Edited 2011-03-07 10:27:20]

User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2475 times:

Quoting casinterest (Reply 10):
I don't think these are American. If so they are not used.

I do know that they are American. It’s the same that applies to:

haemorrhage --> hemorrhage
diarrhoea --> diarrhea
..
thus
..
amoeba --> ameba
aesthetics --> esthetics

Unfortunately, I chose a bad example because amoeba and aesthetics are two words which are usually not simplified in American English, but the spellings are nevertheless valid – which means that you were right; “they are not used” —> seldom used.


User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2450 times:

Quoting sebolino (Reply 7):
As far as I remember, it's the British English which is taught at school. It sounds pretty normal, we learn English not American.

Could it depend on some teachers? I remember using the "z" instead of the "s", but maybe my memory tricks me now
  



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2442 times:

Quoting GrahamHill (Reply 13):
Could it depend on some teachers? I remember using the "z" instead of the "s", but maybe my memory tricks me now

Not having been in school in France, I’m 100% sure that some do. I remember teachers writing British spelling with -ize, -iza AND -yze.

Nevertheless, a combination of centre, realise, analyse and organisation respectively a combination of center, realize, analyze and organization are are usually said to be correct, but not a mix of them all.


User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6531 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2426 times:

I had no idea about the differences until high school when I got an Australian teacher and he did a lesson about the variations. We were taught English as in the UK I would say, but I can't tell if it's official policy, I shall ask the mother of a friend, she's an English teacher (and from the UK).

Then, I vastly expanded my knowledge of the language on the net and watching US TV shows/movies (using English subtitles at first, or still, when I have trouble distinguishing the words, like during action scenes with lots of music/explosions), so I'm more familiar with US spelling, but it's not a conscious thing, so it can totally happen that I write the English word, especially if it's the same as in French (like theatre).

At the moment I'm watching an UK TV show (Torchwood) and well, there's a lot of vocabulary and slang I'm not familiar with !

I also started recently to read books in English, Sci-Fi to be more precise, as lot of the production is in that language. Authors are often Americans, so the trend should continue.

Also, I use an American English check speller on my browser.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently onlineandrej From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 925 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2397 times:

Hello,

I prefer to use the US spelling as I pretty much grew up in the States (I went from a middle-school to a college there). To me it is simpler, easy to learn, and straight-forward (e.g. color vs. colour).

I guess Americans perfected the KISS method! 

Cheers,

Andrej


User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3764 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2362 times:

Being half Irish and thus a fluent English speaker since I could talk, I used to speak English with a wonderful Kerry accent. However, when I was 10 my dad moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Spent 10 weeks there in the summer of 96 and my Kerry accent was gone, and was replaced with the Southern drawl spoken by my new step-siblings.

As that was around the same time that English lessons started in school, and I hadn't really written very much in English by then, I started out using British English spelling. Later in my teens I was exposed to more American literature and culture in general (including posts on this forum by the large number of Americans   ), and I noticed that my high school English teacher didn't have a problem with me using American English (I had been scolded by previous teachers for "not pronouncing words correctly", saying sidewalk instead of pavement, etc), I made the transition to using American spelling.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineMillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1240 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2301 times:

Well I didn't grow up in SE Asia but in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei they use English, not American English. In fact its very English in certain parts.

The only exception might be that they sometimes use soccer instead of football.
With football being so huge in SE Asia and Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea shirts seen on every street-corner I am surprised that out of all American words they went with that hehe

The main difference in English is really between American English and English. Canadian, Australian grammar isn't that different from English,. But American differs pretty substantially.
I never feel comfortable with American English and when we have Americans working for us, a European company, we quickly explain that in our company we use English and so must they if they are to work for us. Never been an issue most of it is pretty standard anyway.



No One Likes Us - We Dont Care.
User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2284 times:

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 18):


I have never regarded "soccer" as an American word as I believe the term arose in England in the late1880s and is a contraction of the word Association, as in Association Football. The name was invented to distinguish the sport from other codes like rugby football.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19415 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2268 times:

I've found that the version of English that someone learns is typically related to proximity to the nearest anglophone countries. Mexico and S. America learn American English. Europe learns British English.

Political affiliation also has something to do with it. Hong Kong and India, both former British colonies, use British English. Japan uses American English.


User currently onlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2638 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2263 times:

Quoting aero145 (Reply 12):
Unfortunately, I chose a bad example because amoeba and aesthetics are two words which are usually not simplified in American English, but the spellings are nevertheless valid – which means that you were right; “they are not used” —> seldom used.

  

I see "aesthetic" all the time in American English; I've almost never ever seen "esthetic."

However, some girls who work at beauty salons call themselves "estheticians." This is a word I don't see all that often though I'm not sure I've ever ever ever seen it spelled "aesthetician."

Also, verbs that end in "-vise" are not converted to "-vize" in American English. "Revise, advise, devise, improvise" do not contain z's (or zeds!   ) even over here.

The same is true of "advertise."



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlineLufthansa411 From Germany, joined Jan 2008, 692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2262 times:

I am a native (American) English speaker, although my spelling generally now is british, and my everyday speech is british except when I am talking with my parents. After working in a European office, it was just easier to switch than have people ask about the different vocab and whatnot, and the fact that one of my HS English teachers had us purchase grammar books imported from England. Some of the British slang I haven't totally picked up, but now that I am watching much more British shows on the telly   that is beginning to change.


Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 23, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2208 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 20):
I've found that the version of English that someone learns is typically related to proximity to the nearest anglophone countries. Mexico and S. America learn American English. Europe learns British English.

Funnily, the school dictionaries in Germany usually contain the Oxford spelling -> in my opinion a good way to mix up already mixed up kids.  
Quoting Airstud (Reply 21):
However, some girls who work at beauty salons call themselves "estheticians." This is a word I don't see all that often though I'm not sure I've ever ever ever seen it spelled "aesthetician."

“Aestheticians” sounds cool to me – people who “work on the aesthetics” of people.  


User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3174 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2199 times:

Maybe this might be unusual for everyone else but doesn't it depend on which way you set up the spell checker on the computer like Microsoft word or Microsoft outlook for emails.

The default for all the computers I get seem to default to American English, so I usually go with the American English so when I type up a document I use the American spelling that way the text doesn't look wrong when you save a copy.  



Why fly non stop when you can connect
25 Post contains images aero145 : So the only reason you write .. analyze, realize, center, etc. .. is so that you don’t get the ugly underlines when you write it “the Australian
26 KiwiRob : Here in Norway people tend to mix up spelling, I proof read a lot of the brochures my company prints, Norwegians tend to mix American and English spel
27 bjorn14 : Or vice versa. In my company we're always struggling with using AE or BE. f.ex 'he went to hospital (BE) or he went to the hospital'
28 Post contains images ajd1992 : Just an FYI for those who don't know - In the EU, at least as far as I'm aware, they do teach British English, as do Canada as well, although theirs i
29 Post contains images tarheelwings : Depends on what/where you're talking about. In Chile for example, my experience was that while your statement may be generally true for High School,
30 comorin : What also matters is the high school exam you study for. A large part of the Commonwealth used the Cambridge GCE (now GCSE) which prescribes a fairly
31 Post contains images aero145 : Allegedly. Unfortunately, it’s amazingly mixed up... at least in Germany. “I had to analyze the formation of the water droplets in the vapour.”
32 Post contains images ME AVN FAN : I in general use the British spelling, except when I know that the other side is US-American. So, correspondence to Britain today was done on 9th Mar
33 exFATboy : From what I've seen, Canadians - particularly Canadian media and government - are more likely to use "British" spellings than American, and British g
34 AR385 : That is a very generalized statement. Some private schools in Mexico, will teach American English, others will teach British English. "The American S
35 Post contains images FRAspotter : Learning a different form of English can also lead to some very embarrassing situations... In High School I had a good friend who grew up going to pri
36 speedygonzales : I guess it's a mix, but in some cases I prefer the american when it's closer to pronounciation, e.g. color, analog, center.
37 Post contains images BAViscount : Reminds me of when one of my cousins from North Carolina spent six months living and working in London. She had a temporary job working in a large ch
38 AR385 : One can´t forget there are many types of American. Trying to talk to someone from the North East is an entirely different experience than trying to t
39 Post contains images N1120A : I make fun of my girlfriend's spelling all the time. She adds all the weird u's and spells center as centre because she is Canadian. Exactly. That is
40 Aeri28 : Aluminum. There I said it. One of the WORST complaints I hear Brits complain about is the American spelling and pronunciation of Aluminum. Now we simp
41 Post contains images CXB77L : I agree entirely. Perhaps there should be a British English version of the site as well as an American English version. I think the two languages are
42 Post contains images Quokka : The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990 (although
43 HT : In Business eMails, I usually adapt the style to what is being common and/or preferred in that country. In case of no such preference, the US-style do
44 ME AVN FAN : - it simply is the "I" as the Brits write it correctly "Aluminium" Germans upnorth to the Taunus (the mountain-range north of Frankfurt and Wiesbaden
45 Post contains images aero145 : The Australian and British spellings (especially the -isa, -ise, -yse) are more similar than the Canadian and British, that’s why I said that Canad
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