American, British, or ABmreirtiicsahn spelling?

Near where I live you can see two big signs on buildings less than a mile from each other. The weirdness becomes apparent when you look closely at them together:




This is a good example of Americans nowadays who don’t even know which spelling system to use any more. It’s become a total mixup. Noah Webster deliberately gave Americans their own way to spell that lasted almost 200 years. It’s breaking down now, but not consciously. It’s breaking down because now and then some Americans have taken to inserting the odd British spelling into commercial language–for a supposed glamorous cachet? Sorry, it doesn’t look glamorous when it’s done so haphazardly and carelessly; it looks slightly cheezy {sic}.

I suspect the academic press may be the last refuge of consistent American spelling. No one else seems to care any more.

If it makes you feel any better, I know many Canadians that use American spelling haphazardly.

If it makes you feel any better, there is a certain SD Moderator that used to have flawless British spelling and has been noticing small instances of Americanization (Americanisation? AAAARGGHH!!) in his spelling over the last year and a half.

Damn Yankees :wink:

Well, FTR, I always spell movie houses as “theaters” and a place where a play or concert is held as “theatre”. I’m very finicky about that, too, for some odd reason. Also, since I took up with IRC about a year and a half ago, I find I spell “or” words “our” now. It drives my friends and family bananas. They think that since I’m a born & raised American, I should spell everything the American way. I don’t tell them I’m just practicing my spelling for when I ex-patriate myself from this country. Ssshhh…don’t tell…


From a British point of view, everything the O.P. said (except about Noah Webster) could be said, substituting British for American and vice versa throughout. I blame the young people. :slight_smile: No, not really, although the influence of U.S. films and pop culture is an important factor. Of course, use of American spelling and phraseology over here is also “cheezy” (and I’m not even sure whom to blame for that word) in that it is likely to be used by (idiotic) people who somehow imagine it to be intrinsically impressive.

It surprises me that the problem of British spelling in the U.S. should exist, but I suppose it is a case of anything foreign being assumed to be impressive or exotic. For instance, I have seen (in Paris)the type of cakes that are often referred to as “gateaux” in Britain labelled with the English word “cakes”.

I’m with Melpomene on the “theater/theatre” thing - I’ve always understood the former spelling was for movie houses and the latter indicated live performances.

Where I live, they tend to “Frenchify” names to sound more exotic or impressive. We have countless dreary housing developments with “Pointe” in their names and one particularly foul grouping of condos is called “Terre du Lac.”

H. P. Lovecraft writing in the 1920s and 1930s was a bit slow to catch on to Noah Webster’s spelling reforms. He used thoroughly British spelling for some reason.

At least he was consistent about it.