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Old 04-13-2011, 11:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Pavlos View Post
The '-ize' is older yes, but English is not a language that follows rules, it follows convention. The OED is not the Académie française and on issues such as 'ize' and 'ise' I think this very much down to what the individual prefers.
Agreed, I mainly brought up the OED because the Declaration of ReDependance (or whatever it was called) posted above brought it up as the place misguided Americans should go to find real spellings. I wanted to point out the fact that such a suggestion would actually convince Americans that the English don't read their own dictionaries. I also agree on personal preference, especially since I slip back and forth between them due to how I grew up. (Though I attempt to maintain consistency of spelling throughout an individual post, paper, note, or what have you.

Originally Posted by Pavlos View Post
Thus, your other example, 'colour' bears the marks of coming into English from Old French/Anglo-Norman colour and couleur. 'Color' is closer to the Latin, but in English is a newer spelling. The reason for its widespread use in America is probably because of Renaissance philology and 18th century rationalism. I believe one of Webster's aims in writing his dictionary was to harmonise the language, it's a goal Samuel Johnson shared.
This one's a bit odd. The original words borrowed from early Old French generally were ended with an -or or -ur. Some later ones came right across as -our. Even later, with the Norman conquest, Anglo-Norman made most of the -ur and -or words into -our, and English retained the change. The Renaissance changed things yet again by turning many -our words back into -or words, some of which had started as -or or -ur, though others were words that had always been -our. So, although there was a lot of switching back and forth, -or and -our both appeared early on, though -or was slightly more common at the start. Webster did indeed want to simplify and standardize spelling, and was responsible for changing even more -our words to -or, once again a mix of those that had always been -our and those that were originally -or.

Originally Posted by Pavlos View Post
It's a rather strange change but an understandable one given the fact that a lot of other elements end in -ium. Sodium, potassium, lithium etc.
I think it started as alumium, became aluminum, and then aluminium. I vaguely remember that the -ium ending was more traditional in element naming at the time, which is likely the reason it changed. Of course, now there are plenty of -num elements; molybdenum, tantalum, platinum, lanthanum, etc.

Originally Posted by Pavlos View Post
The idea of there being a 'proper' English is a rather peculiar one, especially given the number of dialects in England alone -- both rural and urban. And that's discounting all the colonial dialects that are developing out there, coloured by native vocabulary, accent, and sentence structure. I think the preferred idea is one of 'Englishes'. There is naturally a 'Stardard English' in each country, but that is a point of necessity for ease of communication.
Exactly. My argument is mainly a defense (or defence, if you prefer), against the countless English people who have asked me why my country refuses to learn 'real' English. Its function is to point out that by their own standards of 'real', American English might be more 'real' than British English. In the context of this thread, I was referring to the 'Declaration of ReDependance' and its claim of -ise, -our, and aluminium as examples of 'real' English that America dared twist.

Personally, I don't think there is a 'real' or 'proper' form of the English language, since it's in a constant state of evolution. The only unchanging languages are dead ones. As you pointed out, it's impossible to only accept 'original' English as 'proper', since languages swap so much back and forth between each other that English in it's 'purest' form wouldn't be remotely similar to what we know today. I just like pointing out certain facts to linguistic supremacists and making them upset.

Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Oh by the way, you also paid for my skydiving lessons a while back. In addition to paying for any skydiving done on business trips. Thanks buddy!

I don't want to sound greedy, but it seems strange how much money you're sending to CEOs who break their companies and are already rich, instead of me. (Or a slightly less worthy cause than me, like education or roads or curing vegetarianism or something.)

--Too Dumb to Quit--
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