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I really don't understand all the fuss here about AmE and BrE. What's the problem??? Portugal took the Portuguese language to Brazil and Brazillian Portuguese is quite different from ours in what concerns spelling and pronuntiation. So what? I think it's great! I learned BrE at school but I also learned a lot of AmE spellings. I didn't die because of that "effort" Emotion: hmm . Lighten up, people. Emotion: wink
The truth is that I mix American spelling and British spelling in my writing. I began learning English in a American school but afterwards I learnt British English. So I don't know if I have to write "travelling" or "traveling"
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I read again and again that -ise is British and -ize is American, but that's not really correct.
Spellings like organization were used in Great Britain long before the United States and Noah Webster existed. -ize is the old form (more than 500 years old), and -ise is the new form!
Believe it or not, until the 80's, the major British newspapers like the Times and the Guardian used -ize only! They switched over night and it was a big deal in Britain.
In Britain today, -ise spellings have become popular because they don't have exceptions (think about it: organization, realize, but: surprise, improvisation, comprise, advertise...?) The -ise spellings are also in line with German and French spellings (German: organisation, French: organisation)
Oxford University and the huge Oxford University Press still use -ize spellings only. Yes, -ize spellings in Britain. However, mainly in the field of academic publications. In the media, -ise are the most common spellings.

In case you don't know: UK English (with -ize spellings) is used by many international organizations (not U.S. English), like the United Nations and its partner organizations (like WHO, Unesco....), the World Trade Organization, ISO (World Standards), IEC, International Red Cross... and so on.

Therefore, the person who started this thread shouldn't worry that much about UK English being ousted by US English....
Why can't someone come up with a workable phonetic alphabet for English. Here in France the Académie Française decides on matters of grammar and spelling. But maybe that has prevented the french language from developing and being more widely used by non-native speakers. Would anyone benefit from an English academy that could give us univesal phonetic spelling so we would not need to learn two Englishes. Might reduce the need for this forum, though.
It has been tried unofficially in the past, but resisted by society overall.

My personal view is that the French system is over-controlling and I would not welcome a similar idea here. Phonetic spelling would make life a lot easier for everyone, native speakersand ESL alike, but I think it's not really feasible at this stage.
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That's the problem and the reason English is so frustrating. It is total anarchy. Great!
Hi,
I hardly see any problem in the American english spellings. As for the understanding part, I am at ease with American English.
It comes more easier to a new English learner, be it accent or spelling.
Ya know???
I'm sorry but this initial post strikes me as very ignorant and, as an American, a tad offensive. I would be curious to know if the original poster is a native speaker of English, and why they feel so "disgusted" by any English variant.

Anyway, it is true that Americans did purposefully change the spelling of certain English words as you've pointed out. However, I would say that the greatest differences between American and British English are pronunciation and the use of vocabulary, not spelling. I think the vast majority of English speakers understand that 'centre' and 'center', or 'harbour' and 'harbor' are the same word (one bit of irony I see here is that the American spellings are generally more phonetic than the British).

What I really don't understand is your feeling that Americans are arrogant for speaking a different dialect of English than the British. Do you simply feel that Americans are arrogant as a general rule and have looked to our manner of speaking as proof? Regardless, contemporary Americans weren't the ones who made the descision to alter English spelling. That was a choice made largely by one man, Noah Webster, some 200 years ago.

The United States and the United Kingdom are separated by a rather large body of water, and it seems only natural to me that they would evolve different dialects. Other posters here have already shown how this has also occurred with Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas. Assuming that the US and UK were isolated from one another for a few hundred years, their people might eventually create two new and unique languages. Such was the case with the Germanic languages: German, English, Danish, et cetera; and the Romance languages: Italian, French, Spanish, et cetera. This is the natural progression of language.

Finally, why should Americans conform to anyone else's language rules? No one is telling the British that they can't speak their language how they see fit, why impose such restrictions on Americans? And don't tell me that because "ENGLISH IS FROM ENGLAND" Americans should adopt British spelling. The colonists who founded the United States were just as much heirs to the language as their relatives in Britain, and English spelling was far from standardized at that time. "Guest", you act as if Americans randomly decided one day that they would take English as their language, and upon learning it, decided to change it a bit so that they could claim it as their own. Americans are not trying to force their version of English on anybody, but if others want to learn it there's no need to feel as though that's disrespectful to British speakers.

Personally, I feel that the variants of English make it a richer language as a whole. Can they be confusing? Certainly, but aren't discussions such as these interesting?
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To the citizens of the United States of America:
In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.

Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then look up "aluminium."
Check the pronunciation guide.
You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters.
You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z'(pronounced 'zed' not
'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."

You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh
You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation.
Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.
Look up "vocabulary."
Using the same thirty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
Look up "interspersed."

There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show.
If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows.
When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English."
We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.
The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard.
English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).
You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents --- Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.
While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon."
If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys.
Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters.
British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1.
We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football."
There is only one kind of football.
What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game.

The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football.
You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football.

Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls.
It is a difficult game.
Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies).
We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2006.

You should stop playing baseball.
It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America.
Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns.
You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler.
Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday.
November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England.
It will be called "Indecisive Day."

9. All American cars are hereby banned.
They are crap, and it is for your own good.
When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.
All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts.
You will start driving on the left with immediate effect.
At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.
Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips.
Those things you call 'French fries' are not real chips.
Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium.
Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps."
Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat.
The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.
Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not actually beer at all, it is lager.
From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager."
The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine."
This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2006) prices with the former USA.
The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists.
The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.
Guns should only be handled by adults.
If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.
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