Wednesday, December 17, 2014
BRITISH VERSUS AMERICAN SPELLING
It’s all English, thank goodness. According to what I read recently, when we split from the British in the 17th century, there was talk of changing our official language to German. Nevertheless, what remains of our attempts to modernize it, has still left us with differences which I, for one, find charming.
I may not write “colour” for “color,” or “honour” for “honor,” since I agree the Norman conquerors should never have left those useless “u”s behind, but I don‘t have any trouble understanding when I encounter them in U.K. published books. However, I’m half English, so perhaps that explains my willingness to accept their spelling and even use some British versions myself.
For instance, I’ve always spelled “theater” as “theatre,” and prefer “grey” to “gray,” but “colonize” instead of “colonise.”
My grandfather, John Ashworth, emigrated to the U.S. in the late 19th century on board the New York. As I remarked in the blurb on the back of my Titanic novel, COLD APRIL, that ship was the one which almost collided with Titanic leaving Southhampton on April 10, 1912. My father’s sister, Eva, married another Englishman, James Shallcross, so I used that name for my COLD APRIL female character.
Therefore, my father was Richard Ashworth and I was Phyllis Ashworth (usually just “Phyll”) at school. In fact, my father having passed on by that time, I used the author name “Phyll Ashworth,” on my very first novel, the 400-page mainstream tome CHOICES.
Many years ago, on my first visit to England, I met one of my father’s cousins who still lived there. Plus, due to a lovely English couple who moved here for several years while the husband worked at United Air Lines with my husband, we have British friends. Corresponding with them, plus reading all those British mysteries growing up, and watching British sitcoms every Saturday night, established my habit of mixing spellings with abandon. And I shall go on doing so in spite of my computer putting squiggly red lines under them.
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I’m off for a two-week Christmas vacation. Happy Holidays to you.