Talk:American and British English spelling differences

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Former good article nominee American and British English spelling differences was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
August 2, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
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External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 2 external links on American and British English spelling differences. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 17:35, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Milliard vs Million?[edit]

Milliard vs Million? (talk) 23:58, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

What are you proposing? DBaK (talk) 00:28, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

"This article is written in American English"[edit]

That's not entirely true. Is it defined somewhere why this article is tagged with this as such? I don't believe that this flag should define this article to be chiefly American. I mean, this should be an exeption as it is broadly talking about the varieties of English and defining why one spells it 'colour' and the other 'color', etc. This is an article that, essentially, anyone from any form of English can come and learn the different dialects. With that said, having this tagged as 'American English' is making it like its only shown to the American point of view, not including British, Canadian, Australian, etc. I don't know the rules of Wikipedia about this, but what I know is that this article is mixed with British and American (which I see as a good thing), not just American — not just in the contents about the differences, but also within the text itself. (talk) 18:46, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

You're right - you don't knows the rules. See WP:ENGVAR. - BilCat (talk) 21:34, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
...Okay, but that's not really proving anything to this scenario, nor are you bothered to being specific and only point something negative out from the previous comment... This article is on a multi-national basis - it has no strict ties to only one nation, etc., etc., yet still tagged as American English, even though the article is an exception... Why can't it be just "English"? Please, be more detailed rather than throwing WP:ENGVAR and think "job done". Also, I've read through the archives or this talk page and I can't help but think that some of the comments only support what I'm trying to emphasise. And, I've noticed that the tag was put there without reason in the summary? (talk) 03:18, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
You are correct that this article has no MOS:TIES (no strong national ties to the topic). But the article itself should be written per MOS:ARTCON (consistently in a single national variety of English) -- although note that MOS:ARTCON explicitly lists an exception for "passages explicitly discussing varieties of English". So the question is, apart from the places where American or British varieties are being quoted, what national variety should be used consistently? Per MOS:RETAIN, this should be the national variety established by the first post-stub version of the article. Once this is established, it is helpful if an editor places the appropriate Varieties of English template on the talk page. It seems to me that because of potential confusion, it is even MORE important for this article to have one of these templates than other articles. Note that all of the manual of style (MOS) items I have referred to appear in the subsections of MOS:ENGVAR. I hope this helps. YBG (talk) 04:33, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
I think it doesn't matter what variety of English this article is tagged as being: I put the whole article to the British English spell checker of MS Word. Admittedly I have beaten that into submission over the correct spelling of all the "ize" words formed on the Greek, etc., in line with Hart and Fowler (go on, argue that they are wrong then). But the only words that were not the subject of discussion – and thus in quotes – that got flagged were "recoining, trisyllabic, and trademarking". If there are spellings in the discussions that are uniquely British English, then I'd not have found those. But I still think it makes the point that it doesn't matter at the moment, because what variety of English it's tagged with is most unlikely to change anything in the discussions or any of the words that are discussed. It's an interesting, but different, argument whether or not that makes this topic moot or not.Graham.Fountain | Talk 18:30, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
How about we just remove the banner, then? This article seems like a reasonable "occasional exception" to the ARTCON guideline anyway — in general, articles should use a consistent variety, but articles specifically discussing the differences between varieties seem like a different case. --Trovatore (talk) 19:10, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't change it back if someone did. But then I'm not sure why I've put as much effort into the issue as I already have.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Graham.Fountain (talkcontribs) 20:54, 2 July 2016‎
I think we should do it. I'm not fond of those banners anyway. I know they're supposed to be just informational and head off useless churning, but they have the potential to come across as a bit aggressive. I recently standardized the ENGVAR at Banach–Tarski paradox to AmEng, based on my reading of the history, and I considered adding a banner, but then I thought, why pick a fight if you don't need to. --Trovatore (talk) 21:05, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
As I mentioned above, agreeing on a standard ENGVAR is probably more important on this page than on other pages -- that is to say, it is more likely to be contentious. Full disclosure: although I am a native speaker of US English, I would actually prefer that this article be written in British English, mostly because that ENGVAR has historic priority. But the WP policies do not allow me to make such a change without first seeking a broad consensus. And I believe it is reasonable to think that removing the banner should also require a broad consensus, especially since the banner was added almost four years ago. But rather than banner that specifies en-us or en-uk, what would be even better is a banner that specifies that any engvar-specific wording should be eliminated in favor of engvar-non-specific forms.
Incidentally, I started to spell-check the article via MS-Word's US English spell checker. Before getting interrupted IRL, I found one violation of en-us. When I finish the task, I'll post the results here. YBG (talk) 22:28, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
OK, I finished my US spell-check courtesy of MS-Word. Here's what I found:
  • UK-only forms: nativised, naturalised, standardised
  • US-only forms: romanizations (though not in MS-Word dictionary)
  • OK but not found: placenames, recoining, trisyllabic, uniquenesses
I will try to rephrase to eliminate nativised, naturalised, standardised, and romanizations. YBG (talk) 01:08, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
OK, I've made five different edits to un-en-US and un-en-UK the WP:ENGVAR:
YBG (talk) 03:15, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What about using something more like this?

(Potential pics include file:English language.svg used above or File:UK-US flag.png or File:US-UK-blend.png) If we decide to go down this path, then we need to decide whether we should (a) reach a 'broad consensus' as required for articles with no strong national ties, or we could alternately argue that it should be changed because of 'strong ties' to both ENGVAR. We would also need to find out how we to implement it -- for example, should we directly invoke {{English variant notice}} as I did here, or should we create a new template, e.g., {{UK and US English}}? YBG (talk) 23:17, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Yes, this is good, I like this. Well, it's probably not my first choice, which would be just to exempt this article from ENGVAR-related formalities completely, and remind editors to be reasonable about it. But it's a solid second choice. --Trovatore (talk) 06:43, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Any ideas on selecting the 'flag' or improving the content of the message? YBG (talk) 07:18, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Still without any real understanding of why I'm getting involved in this (life's too short): Limiting it to British and American English is exclusive. And, as neither (I'm Yorkshire), I think you want a more inclusive solution. Also, on the assumption that the main purpose is to prevent bickering about spelling, identifying two forms won't do that. You would have to at least specify which of, e.g., the OED or Webster's had precedence. Personally, I'd always look to the OED and the original Fowler's Modern English Usage - and maybe Hart's rules where they don't help. But, oddly, that wouldn't agree perfectly with most people's interpretation of British English.Graham.Fountain | Talk 08:01, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Good catch, I hadn't thought about regional varieties. Basically, I was trying to come up with a stronger form of MOS:COMMONALITY, which says WP prefers to use forms which are common to all ENGVAR. I wanted to say that as far as this article is concerned, this is more than just a preference, it is close to a requirement. I would insist on using forms common to en-uk and en-us. But it shouldn't matter if this article uses a form that is unacceptable in en-ca, en-in, en-pk or some other variety, so long as the form were acceptable in BOTH en-uk and en-us. Another way of looking at this is to say I'd want to completely avoid any forms that are considered unacceptable in either en-uk or en-us. I presume that if a form is acceptable in BOTH standard en-uk AND standard en-us, then it would be unlikely to be considered unacceptable in a regional variety of either. And I was trying to say all of that without writing an overly long paragraph. YBG (talk) 09:01, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it seems likely that anything common in both UK and US English will be accepted elsewhere, at the very least in formal conversation. CMD (talk) 09:18, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your changes which I see as improvements. Dbfirs 08:53, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────OK, I have replaced {{American English}} with the hand-crafted version of {{English variant notice}} proposed earlier in this thread. It is rather ironic that before the my edits mentioned above, this article had several British-only spellings and no American-only spellings. YBG (talk) 15:36, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

Map showing nations using either American or British English[edit]

Is this map showing nations using either American or British English verified? If not, can it be? If not, should it be deleted?

I ask because I was under the impression that the EU contries were obliged to accept British English as the norm - though that may all change soon anyway.

Graham.Fountain | Talk 19:43, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

@Wikidroid 2000: As creator of this image, perhaps you could answer this question. YBG (talk) 19:50, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I've removed it. The map appeared to show that the whole world, except the Commonwealth, uses American English. That goes way beyond worrying about the EU.
(As for "deleting" it, that's a separate matter. I don't know whether inaccuracy is a criterion for deletion of infographic images.) --Trovatore (talk) 20:00, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
@YBG: I can change the map if you want. Wikidroid 2000 (talk) 20:02, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I presume you are referring to my request for colo(u)rs with more contrast. Yes, that would be nice, but it might be good to wait until this discussion here plays out. YBG (talk) 23:45, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I meant removed from this page when I wrote "deleted".
Maybe it is a good idea to have such a map if it's possible to have verified infomation. But what would be the source of that information?
Graham.Fountain | Talk 20:13, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I would prefer not. I don't think it's well-defined, as a general rule, to talk about the English variety used by a non-English-speaking country. --Trovatore (talk) 20:15, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Such a map IMO should only colo(u)r those countries included in the List of territorial entities where English is an official language. But even with such a restriction, one wonders where you would source the information without resorting to original research? Maybe it would be best to add a column (with properly sourced information) to the tables in §§ Sovereign states​ and Non-sovereign entitites, and then build the map accordingly. Additional information (and some pretty maps) are in the articles on Anglosphere and the English-speaking world.
Another thing to think about: The list of dialects of the English language is rather long. WP has 17 different templates to mark articles with a particular national variety of English, and that's not counting {{British English Oxford spelling}} or {{IUPAC spelling}} as different from {{British English}}, nor {{IUPAC spelling US}} as different from {{American English}}. How do you go about dividing even the English-speaking world into an American Camp and an British Camp?
It might be nearly as difficult as the situation during the Pig War when San Juan Island, Washington held both an American Camp and an English Camp. (Those who don't enjoy click-bait can safely ignore this last sentence.) YBG (talk) 23:45, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I've nominated for deletion at Commons. It's clearly made up and wrong. Since when have the former British colonies in Africa used American Englis?. Why do all the EU countries use AE when the two English-speaking members use BE? Since when has AE been an official language in Russia and China? Jimfbleak - talk to me? 08:54, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

You don't need a map. Britain uses British English and America uses American English. Other English-speaking countries have their own dialects. Relationships between dialects are not that simple. Jimp 06:59, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Agreed, Jimp. This discussion can safely be considered closed. The file being discussed was File:American and British spelling differences.png. It was removed from this article on July 9, 2016 and then deleted from commons on July 18 following a brief discussion. YBG (talk) 13:54, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Draft or Draught for a ship[edit]

I've just provided a reference for the claim that the British spelling of a ship's draught is seldom "draft", but the OED has not yet updated those entries for the Third Edition, and I suspect that usage has changed somewhat during my lifetime. Can anyone find any reliable source for the change in British spelling. Google ngrams show increasing usage of the "draft" spelling for shipping, but when I look at the actual examples, they are usually American or international documents, so perhaps there hasn't been much change in British spelling? Dbfirs 12:49, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

If you look at something like Guide to Port Entry, which is the British-based leading port directory, it uses draft exclusively. The port of Hamburg uses draft and if you look at a UK port Southampton it uses both draft and draught. This Hong Kong based outfit use draft. This one in China uses draft. I don't believe it is a case of US v UK. Both styles are in use, draft is most common, draught still used but on the way out. CalzGuy (talk) 13:40, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
It certainly used to be a US versus UK difference, but I agree that things are changing, and that international publications tend to use the shorter spelling. It would be good to find a reliable source rather than use original research. Dbfirs 15:47, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
I think the point I am "disputing" is whether the current source supports the text as written. TBH, I think that goes for much of the article and examples. But you are correct that RS trumps OR. But can we agree what constitutes OR? ;-) CalzGuy (talk) 16:17, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
The current source is reliable, but out of date. When they update to the Third Edition they may well look at more recent texts and change their view. What we have in the article is the traditional British spelling as used by Shakespeare (Twelfth Night scene 5 "shallow draught"). It is also supported by Collins on-line dictionary, and by Cambridge on-line. I agree that in modern usage the claim is possibly borderline. Which other claims in the article do you find unconvincing? Dbfirs 16:29, 26 November 2016 (UTC)