Monday, 31 December 2007

British and American English

Baba Gyani Triviani says:

"Shun American, and you'll learn to speak proper English"

English -a fantastic language given to the world by Great Britain. However now there are variants - British English, American English, Indian English and so on. But of all these British and American are the two most widely used types. What I don't understand is - Why use American English?

Some people argue that American English is a simplified version of British English, and thus they are making lives of people easy by elimination of redundant letters. Yeah right! Let's face it. The Americans want to standardise their own units. Although the world has its own units, the Americans are stubborn and refuse to use the units used by the rest of the world. And what's sad is that the might and power of the USA is compelling other countries to go the American way. We use the kilometres, and they use miles. We express in litres what they express in gallons. Not that we don't know what that means. But our standard units and theirs are so much different.

American English according to me is a sham. That's because although they claim to make colour as color - removing the redundant u, what I don't quite follow is why not make the spelling of cat ALSO as "kat". This way, both spellings become acceptable - now THAT's simplification. Current currant, curant kurrant, kurrent - they all sound the same and thus, we seem to have a redundant letter - eliminate k or c. So in American English, we can reduce a letter. Or allow both.

Likewise - Circus, sircus; cell sell - let's remove another. Either of v or w also needs to go - velcome, welcome. And this way, we can reduce the difficulty of many people who have bad spellings. Spell checks also can be removed from programs which renders coding simpler. They also keep altering spellings. There's always this confusion of - is it an s or a z?

Bah! Stupid logic. I say stick to the British English. It's the original one, it's the correct one. It may be a little longer - a letter or two extra won't kill you. We have all survived with British Englih so long that we don't feel affected by these two "redundant" letters in our words. I suggest we all oppose the American idea of trying to push their ideas onto us. I don't want to get AmericaniSed for the heck of it.

In fact, just to piss them off, I think I should call it - Amerikan English

I am proud to be an Indian, proud to be driving on the left side of the road and using the right words.

***
A recent update on facebook resulted in the following thread

Nikhil Baliga It's a pity when people write "realiZe", "optimiZe" in SOPs. Sheesh! Suck ups to the Americans!

Bharath Srivatsa, Nina Booth, Nagamohan Vt and 3 others like this.

Sreedevi Prasad: do u by any chance screen SOPs? or ppl approach you for proof reading? :)

Nikhil Baliga: ‎:P Yup! Clearly I don't screen SOPs :P

Karthik Rangarajan: As far as I remember, I used z's and s's interchangeably all of my life. I don't think I was sucking up to anyone. :) Also, if you they see S instead of Z, they'll think you don't know your spelling, so boom, you lose a couple of brownie points there. Don't blame people even if they're sucking up. :)
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Nikhil Baliga: Yeah :P that's what I am saying... fear of losing brownie points and using Zs is a pity man. The Americans do everything using their own standards just to show that they don't conform to the established standards. Like, they drive on the right side (or wrong side :P) of the road, just to show they don't follow the British. And don't even get me started on metrics. It's sad we follow these incorrect spellings. :P
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Karthik Rangarajan: Technically, the Americans are conforming to standards when they drive on the right side of the road: 66% of the world does. Yes, they rebel and set their own standards. But doesn't everyone do that? Do we follow standards on our own roads?... Hell, we don't even have standards in a lot of things.

As they say, when you are in Rome, you need to be Roman. Every country has their own way of doing things, and if you're going to that country, you need to be like them. If I come back from the US, and try to stick to my lane, and do lane changes only when necessary, its not going to work, is it?

Nikhil Baliga: :P I am not saying drive on the other side man... What I am saying is - We are taking them to be the de facto Romans. If there are meetings and calls, Indians are awake at American timings. I know loads of people working at 2AM (Not call c...entre employees). When I already have Kgs, litres and Kilometres, why are they again talking in terms of pounds, gallons and miles?

If I am being reviewed by a bunch of people who don't know that "realiSe" and "optimiSe" and Indian/British English spellings and take it as wrong spellings, I wouldn't think much about them. It's common sense. Why should I write spellings to appease someone else? I don't see Americans writing it as realiSe when they mail Indians... They care two hoots for it.

Prashanth Harshangi: Why should you write in english to appease someone else?

Nikhil Baliga: That's my question Prashanth :P and yet people write...

Chiranth Ashok: The problem is people don't WRITE..... They type or copy paste... I am pretty sure a majority of us don't change the spell check utility in MS Office to follow the proper English.. The default settings would give a red line for an S and you would simply change the spelling to make the red line go away... if there are red and green lines when somebody opens a document it simply doesn't look good and that's it..

Nikhil Baliga: Ha :-) I actually point out every time I see - and the people said "They are Americans" (As Karthik above says - When in Rome, be a Roman) and so, that's why, they intentionally keep American spellings.

Personally, I see this to be a servile... attitude. You will never see Americans spell it for you because YOU spell it that way. But there is a general tendency among Indians to spell it like them. Again, it is not the spelling per se, but the attitude that I have a problem with.
2 people like this

Sriranga Chidambara: They tend to spell it nearest to however it is pronounced and it is not to just rebel against the British. You won't find Americans spelling "supervize", do you?

Chiranth Ashok: Now that i think about it again, i feel a majority of Americans were/are not very bright... they just write whatever it sounds like... and it simply has become a standard thing.........

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Ranga - I was expecting this... Here is a post to an age old post of mine where I discuss letter redundancy - See if you agree or disagree.
http://lifeasiknowit-nik.blogspot.com/2007/12/british-and-american-english.html

Kavya Sampath Kumar: When the SOP itself is an attempt to go to an 'American university', why is a 'Z' in place of an 'S' a big deal? When you are spending x number of dollars filling out their applications, and y amount of time in going through the process,... it only makes sense not to let some stupid spelling let all your money and time go down a drain. In any case, variants of spellings for a word are a matter of convenience (when you are trying to express your ideas and they are not being judged/graded). There's no point losing sleep over it.See more

Nikhil Baliga: So you are basically saying that "I am spending money and time to go there. Let me spell like this, so that they take me because they don't see/care about my merits/money/time/ability but my SPELLINGS?"

Kavya Sampath Kumar: ‎^ They care about merits,money,time,ability and SPELLINGS.

Nikhil Baliga: Yeah, that's what I said earlier... If they are a bunch of people who are going to say that Z is correct and S is wrong, I consider them as ignorant for not knowing the existence of two types of possible spellings.

Clearly your mindset is t...o make it easier for the Americans to understand and not for you to put YOUR individual styles across. This either means that you have a servile attitude or a condescending one - Either you think they are too good and don't want them to break a sweat trying to figure out why S is used or that you think they are so stupid that they can't differentiate and so you make it easier for them this way.See more

Kavya Sampath Kumar: It's probably neither of those attitudes. It's just indifference.

Nikhil Baliga: Insistence of american spellings can't be indifference. Using interchangeably is indifference

Lakshman Gs: Ultimately the Americans must understand that by typing the words "realise, optimise and colour" they can convey the point. They also must "realise" or understand that a message should be conveyed in the Language of english and not in the "AMERICAN WAY of Speaking"
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1 comment:

Kavya said...

Haha, I found this article pretty amusing if I may say so :)

I don't have a lot to say about this, because I use a lot of 'z' in place of 's', and remove a number of redundant letters (like in 'neighbors'), but what I do know is that both 'neighbors' and 'neighbours' are accepted well-enough by the lexicographers (and English is a weird language, so let's not get into spellings like 'velcome', 'welcome'. Some things are meant to be accepted the way they come, it's like asking- if the past tense of fly is flew, then why isn't the past tense of dry, drew?)

Yes, I have come across people strongly against the Americans' way of addressing "Hey dude", as against a decent "Hello Mr.Someone".But I guess it's all acceptable as long as people don't leave out vowels (the non-redundant ones? :P) out of words, and articles out of sentences."Hey dude" seems to have much more of a standard than does "hi,cn v b frnd,plz replay"