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British people simply invented a new pronunciation and spelling to make it sound pretty. Dare I say it was a very French thing to do.
This is simple. Humphry Davy discovered it. He gets to name it.
“The confusion over the aluminum/aluminium spelling arose because of some uncharacteristic indecisiveness on Davy’s part. When he first isolated the element in 1808, he called it alumium. For some reason he thought better of that and changed it to aluminum four years later. Americans dutifully adopted the new term, but many British users disliked aluminum, pointing out that it disrupted the -ium pattern established by sodium, calcium, and strontium, so they added a vowel and syllable.” ― Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
As an American English user* I'm tired of British English users simply assuming they are correct even when they do not understand the history of a word. By all means redirect 'aluminium' searches to 'aluminum' - but respect Davy's hard work and let him decide.
(*)Outside of North America. American English is common in many parts of the world.
- Sure, when IUPAC makes aluminum the primary spelling like it did with sulfur. I am actually for that, respecting the etymological principle, as long as you let us keep caesium. ;) Double sharp (talk) 04:22, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
- Were it so easy. No, you're going to have to live with aluminium until the scientific world and IUPAC starts adopting your ideas. Prinsgezinde (talk) 01:34, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
- It's not actually hard to find scientific papers using the American spelling even today. IIRC, the Brits were fairly quick to start using sulfur. The Americans were not quite so happy to use aluminium and caesium. But the page can only have one title, and this makes a good excuse to make sure we don't have inconsistent titles (wouldn't it be slightly annoying if the titles were aluminum fluoride but aluminium chloride?)
- P.S. If the discoverer's word was key, then by Davy's lead the preceding element would not be magnesium but magnium. Maybe we would also have to resurrect emanation for radon. And how about dephlogisticated air for oxygen? That does sound fresh after all these years! ;) Double sharp (talk) 07:16, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
Is it the general consensus that wikipedia uses the IUPAC names? Seems to me that would often enough not be the WP:COMMONNAME. (I have gotten into WP:COMMONNAME discussions often enough, where I knew the technically correct name, but another name was more popular, often because it is shorter.) I am asking in general, and not intending to suggest a rename for this page. Gah4 (talk) 18:00, 29 May 2019 (UTC)