Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spell bound.

In many ways, I find US spellings more logical, less irksome. Out there, they don't hesitate to use a 'z' for a word with a 'z' sound, e.g., 'organisation'. Even 'color' and 'favor' seem sensible to me. Their double 'l' policy is also eminently sane. They spell 'travelled' as 'traveled' but 'fulfil' as 'fulfill'. The rule is: don't double a letter unless the stress is on the final stem of the word. (Their cousins across the big pond spell with a double 'l' the past tense of verbs ending with a single 'l', though. 'Travel' and 'fulfil' become 'travelled' and 'fulfilled'.) The final consonant in a monosyllabic verb is doubled because not doing so would lead to it being pronounced wrongly. So 'pit' becomes 'pitted'; 'brag', 'bragged'. When it comes to words ending in an 's', authorities everywhere seem to prefer the single 's' as in 'focuses', 'focused', 'focusing', 'buses', 'bused' and 'busing'. Though I admire their practicality, I've so far been loath to use American spellings probably out of habit and inertia. Anyone who wants to improve his command of the global lingua franca ought to take a look at

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