"The centre/center question is a good example of why this is difficult. "Center" is a phonetically correct spelling throughout much of North America, but in Australia (and I think also in England), the spelling "centre" is a better representation of the pronunciation.

Spelling reform is possible, and some influential people are pushing for it; but it is going to mean a much larger separation between the written forms of American English and British English.

Spelling reform has worked in other languages because of the existence of a dominant group which was able to enforce its own pronunciation as the "standard". In the case of modern English, there are two dominant groups, neither of which would be willing to accept the spelling or pronunciation of the other. (Meanwhile, those of us in the non-dominant groups will, as usual, be crushed in the middle.)"

Why can't the Brits change their spelling to accomodate our* pronunciation, being that it's the *correct English pronunciation and we also have a majority of English-speakers. Plus, foreigners learn to speak "American"; not Irish.
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"Before Webster (and his predecessors like
Benjamin Franklin), `center' and `color' were merely variant spellings. I'm not sure which Dr. Johnson preferred."

Who's "Dr. Johnson"?
"Before Webster (and his predecessors like Benjamin Franklin), `center' and `color' were merely variant spellings. I'm not sure which Dr. Johnson preferred." Who's "Dr. Johnson"?

The guy who invented Pledge.

Ross Howard
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thus spake Ross Howard:
"Before Webster (and his predecessors like Benjamin Franklin), `center' and `color' were merely variant spellings. I'm not sure which Dr. Johnson preferred." Who's "Dr. Johnson"?

The guy who invented Pledge.

That was his brother, Mr Johnson.

Simon R. Hughes
"Or
"The cars were red, blue, green and blue, orange and white and grey" (Period omitted - I'll take the `5th')"
I get the example on what the commas do. But why's the period omitted and what's "taking the 5th" have to do with any of it?
"Or
"The cars were red, blue, green and blue, orange and white and grey" (Period omitted - I'll take the `5th')
Sure it parses but it doesn't scan commas are pauses dashes and semicolons are too.
We don't spell the way we speak, shouldn't we at least punctuate phonetically."

OK. I just read the rest of the person's post. What does she mean by "it parses but it doesn't scan"? I'm guessing she used no punctuation to illustrate a point?
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Fontana will be happy to know that the AUE had its first pronunciation thread in its first day, May 13, 1991. So, Fontana, when people diss you for wanning to discuss the way words are said, tell them all to respect their elders.

"Message 1 in thread

View this article only
Newsgroups: alt.usage.english
Date: 1991-05-13 00:12:41 PST
As long as we're at it, we need not confine ourselves to questions of written (hm, typed, displayed) English. One could start by asking how many know how to pronounce the name of the language. Far too many people have the fairly twisted idea that they speak Inglish; personally, I speak English, where the `E' is pronounced the way it is heard in "Engineering" and "Entertainment."
pedantically,
karl
PS- Excessively serious followups will be taken as conclusive evidence of the need for a Real Life(tm), regardless of the fact that I'm really quite serious about the subject matter..."
"Before Webster (and his predecessors like Benjamin Franklin), `center' and `color' were merely variant spellings. I'm not sure which Dr. Johnson preferred." Who's "Dr. Johnson"?

Samuel Johnson
born 1709, in Lichfield, Staffordshire
He studied at Oxford for a year, but dropped out because he couldn't afford it. His doctorates are honorary: Dublin (1765) and Oxford! (1775). After dropping out of Oxford and teaching for a while, he moved to London (1737). His career in London started with cataloging the Earl of Oxford's library and writing for The Genleman's Magazine .

He is best known for his dictionary. He wrote the outline for it in 1746, and used that to procure a contract for its production. This was expanded to the Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language . He and his assistants worked for three years collecting and filing citations. The first edition appeared in 1754 in a printing of 2000 and a price of 4 pounds, 10 shillings. The second edition was published in weekly sections. There were 165 of these, costing 6p each.
The dictionary, especially in its revised form of 1773, was the dictionary of English for many years.
He also wrote a 10-volume Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets and produced an 8-volume edition of Shakespeare's plays. You have almost certainly heard a reference to Boswell, his biographer.

A CD version of his dictionary is available from the Cambridge University Press, listing for USD 295. The CD has the first edition (1755) and the fourth edition (1773). Each edition has roughly 86,000 entries, 141,000 definitions and 222,000. Chambers traces its dictionaries back to the Johnson dictionary.
There are many definitions well-known for their idiosyncratic definitions. These are much rarer than one would expect from the frequency of their being cited. Here is a more normal example:
E'THER. n. f. (ather, Latin; )
1. An element more fine and subtle than iar; air refined or sublimed."If any one should suppose that ether, like our air, may contain particles which endeavour to recede from one another; for I do not know what this ether is; and that its particles are exceedingly smaller than those of air, or even than those of light, the exceeding smallness of its particles may contribute to the greatness of the force, by which those particles may recede from one another." Newton's Opt.
"The parts of other bodies are held together by the eternal pressure of the ether, and can have no other conceivable cause of their cohesion and union."
Locke

2. The matter of the highest regions above." There fields of light and liquid ether flow,
Purg'd from the pond'rous dregs of earth below."
Dryden

Martin Ambuhl
And, Ben proves that there is nothing unaccpetable about using multiple question marks:
"Well, (whoever), the next time you use the English language in a non-verbal context you should post it.
/Bill
?? How is it possible to use the English language in a non-verbal context?"
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