Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Spelling/Archive 4

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US/UK spelling

Sometimes it's hard (and a waste of time) to figure out what the original author used. I usually just do whatever is the majority. (User:Omegatron#Spell_checker) Not that it really matters, but any objections to this? People seem to care a little too much about this... - Omegatron 15:18, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. Maurreen 15:46, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
If the original author is not obvious I think that is common sense. Of course if the original author then appears, makes themselves known, and changes your aditions you shouldn't complain then. -- Chris Q 16:12, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Be careful with that spell checker. Let's not be too UK and US-centric here. There are other forms of spelling that use a little bit of both. Leave our good Canadians alone don't force them to choose. The or/our variation may be more clear-cut, but the ise/ize variation is not. Both and the OED and Cambridge University Press have both maintained the "ize" spelling as "correct". --Jiang 20:53, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Oh c'mon.  :-) What are the differences between UK and Canadian spelling? Is it really worth the extra effort? I think maintaining quality information is more important than spending time searching around for original author's spelling, taking extra time to figure out which particular variant should be used in an article written in equal amounts of different styles, etc. It already takes long enough to spell check with UK dictionary, count the "misspellings" (but don't count the actual misspellings!), spellcheck with US dictionary, count the misspellings, and then do it again with the majority, in articles that use both about equally. It's silly. Yet everyone agrees that it should be consistent throughout an article... Aye... - Omegatron 22:16, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)
As Slim stated below, Canadians use the 'ize' and not 'ise' spelling. There are some other American uses in Canadian. I prefer that we, without an official preference for any policy leave this issue alone and let the time do its own work in changing the spellings for consistency, if consistency exists in the first place. --Jiang 02:54, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I've seen articles I've written change their spelling and haven't cared. And considering the number of articles I see with mixed spellings, I don't think that many care or notice. I've occasionally cleaned up one way or the other when the inconsistancy bothered me. And of course modern British topics at least should be have reasonable modern British spellings and so forth. But as the MoS says, don't worry too much about this if you don't want to. Let others do the editing. Jallan 03:26, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Slightly tangential... but I was thinking about putting together a comparison of Chicago and Oxford style to see what the real differences are beyond the obvious spelling things. Would that be useful? —Tkinias 22:53, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Just the kind of useful original research I suggest we can do here, since it would produce no novel theories or explanations. I say go with it, if you want and make an article of it. But Oxford is both more academic and more flexible than Chicago so it may often be hard to compare. Jallan 03:26, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It would be very useful and interesting, if you can be bothered to do it. A lot of work though.
On a completely different note, does anyone know of a good style guide/writers' book that talks about the ideal length of paragraphs? I was always taught to write in shortish paragraphs, depending on context of course, but that even one-sentence paragraphs were fine; the rule of thumb being "one idea = one paragraph." I find that guideline being challenged by a couple of editors here at Wikipedia, who feel that short paragraphs can mean bad writing. Does anyone know anything about this?
By the way, regarding ize-and -ise. My understanding is that the British English form was -ize (recognize) but, at some point, a belief developed in the UK that -ize was the sAmerican version, and so people started using -ise. However, I have no references for this, so it may be apocryphal, or maybe I dreamed it.  :-) Canadian spelling is mostly British, with some exceptions, like -ize, and with some inconsistencies, like esthetics, but Caesarian. Slim 02:01, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)
Maybe I was right. Here's something on -ise and -ize. [1] Slim 02:06, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)
Use of "ise" does specifically distinguish British spelling, as while technically both forms are to some extent acceptable in the UK, that is not the case in the US.
It should also be noted that it's a bit more complicated in British English than both versions being acceptable. Some words are much more commonly spelt with an "s" (for example, organisation). There is also I believe a blacklist of words that must be spelt with "ise" to be correct in British English - i.e. to ensure correct spelling in British English, a safe rule is to always use the ise form (excepting the obvious "always z" forms, e.g. prize, though not surprise).
The EU [2] uses the "s" version for "organisation" in particular - as do the Irish [3] and British [4] governments. A more extensive evaluation would be necessary to discern general practice, although it is likely that mostly the "s" forms are used, with an occasional "z" creeping in. A cursory browse of the official websites linked seems to confirm the use of "s" forms.
From my experience, I would say that the use of "z" forms is increasingly being perceived as US spelling.
zoney talk 16:14, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)
To be frank, -ise is not English at all, but French. The Greco-Latin roots are with z, written with s in French orthography. The -ise forms are simply conserving a Frenchism. OED argues that the -ize form is always the correct form from an etymological standpoint, even if -ise forms are often more common today. —Tkinias 16:44, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well that's a strange argument considering that many of the words are themselves French in origin anyway! Why anyone should feel the need to shove in a crude "z" is beyond me, particularly considering the lack of synchronisation between written and spoken English! zoney talk 00:10, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well, when modernizing a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article, I keep it in the same spelling, with -ize. As to general practice, see British English and Commonwealth English. Apparently in the 1990s the supposed preference of s to z was 3 to 2 in British English and 3 to 1 in Australian English. The use of s over z has supposedly been continued to increase in Britain during the twentieth century, especially after the Lond Times changed from Oxford English z to French s. The difficulty is that z can either be seen as Americanization, as Zoney indicates, but also as academic style following Oxford English spelling (though of course Cambridge refuses to follow that style). Generally speaking, while Oxford and Cambridge agree, you have an established British style. When they disagree, the school system follows Cambridge but most other universities follow Oxford, even in Australia. Jallan 03:26, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Personally, I switched to "s" over "z" (I'm American) partly out of habit and partly out of selfishness. A great many of the things I've read in English over the past several years are written in non-American English (academic books, textbooks, etc.) and also have a couple email pen pals I keep in touch frequently who write that way, so I picked it up. Also, typing "z" takes more effort than typing "s" due to its awkward placement and use of the fifth finger..."s" is just much easier to type. Stupid reason.