Mark Crispin mrc at CAC.Washington.EDU
Sun Jun 15 14:24:54 CEST 2003

On Sun, 15 Jun 2003, Michael Everson wrote:
> Yes, the OED has citations which include all the possible spellings.
> American dictionaries do too. ("colour, Brit. var. of color"). The
> point is that in the world of tagged English that we live in today,
> one has a choice of "British English" (colour, tyre, civilise) or "US
> English" (color, tire, civilize). While a variety of British English,
> the OED prefers civilize to civilise.

What position does it take on the "c vs. s" issue, which is the third
major spelling difference between US and British English, and the "-re vs.
-er" issue which is the fourth major difference?

If the OED prefers "defence" to "defense", "licence" to "license",
"centre" to "center", and "kilometre" to "kilometer", then we already have
a tag for this orthography: en-CA.

Then, too, there is the matter of word usage.  What is the OED's position
on the following (I won't even attempt to get into slang):

In the US, "tire" as a noun refers to what in the UK is called a "tyre".
A UK "tire" is a band of metal placed around the rim of a wheel to
strengthen it.

In the US, "suspenders" are an alternative to a belt to hold a man's
"pants" up, and "garters" are what women use to hold up their stockings;
in the UK, "braces" are used by men to hold up their "trousers" (having
first put on their "pants" which are worn underneath), and "suspenders"
are used by women for their stockings.

In the US, to "table" an item of discussion means to postpone or abandon
it; in the UK, it means the opposite.

-- Mark --

Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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