A case of words, spellings and cultural pride

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  1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
    Duane Hennessyposted 5 years ago

    Writing from Australia we use some different words to England and the US we also have a mixture of spellings from both countries.

    A classic example, in relation to an article I'm currently writing, is the word for sneakers.

    In England they use the word trainers, in the US they use sneakers and in Australia we use either runners or sneakers.

    When writing an article on sneakers (I think everyone across the English speaking world understands this term) I use both runners and sneakers interchangeably as I do when I speak. I thought about just reducing it to sneakers but with me there is a cultural pride in the word we use and its relation to being Australian.

    Another example, with regards to spelling this time, is the word colour. In England they only spell it with a 'u', colour. In the US they spell it color and in Australia according to the Macquarie Australian Dictionary we can spell it as either colour or color albeit the former is more common due to the colony's British origins.

    In Australia we can use yogurt or yoghurt and Macquarie Dictionary lists both as acceptable. In fact we even use this spelling interchangeably within our news articles and company reports for example an article by "Australian Food News" titled "Gippsland Dairy launches new organic yoghurt range in Australia" has two cases of the spelling yogurt and four cases of the spelling yoghurt within the one article. This isn't sloppy editing, it's just reality in Australia. Check out the article yourself :-)

    http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2014/09/1 … ralia.html

    Then we have differences in word usage among our States and Territories. In Queensland they use the word footpath for pavement whereas in Melbourne we use either path or sidewalk. So if I was writing an article on paving within Melbourne I'm likely to use either or both words as is common in Melbourne.

  2. theraggededge profile image97
    theraggededgeposted 5 years ago

    In the past we were allowed to use our own country's terminology and spelling. These days, because HubPages now employs its own editors, we are expected to produce writing that complies with APA Style https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APA_style

    While, I am sorry that I can't use British English, I understand that we are writing for, and earning from, an American platform, and that consistency is important.

    Your articles will be edited if they are moved to any of the network sites.

    1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
      Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I'm always conscious of my audience and it is mostly US readers and US sites I'm publishing to. It's makes sense in a way but saddens me also that my cultural usage of English is not accepted.

      But hey, look how long it took for the US film industry to accept our Aussie accent lol.

      I'm in the quasi-unique position of being born and raised in England for the first 15 years of my life which shaped my original understanding of English: Words, spelling, grammar and so on. Over the 34 years I've lived in Australia I've observed how my use of English has changed by process of cultural immersion, conscious effort and at times by choice depending on context or pure flippancy :-D .

  3. Rupert Taylor profile image94
    Rupert Taylorposted 5 years ago

    When I was at school, that was shortly after the Ice Age, we wore plimsolls for gym and sports. They were light canvas things that did not stand up very well to contact with a cricket ball.

    Now, I live in Canada, where we have the same issues of conflict between British and American usage. I write in Canadian - labour, humour, travelling, centre, metre, defence etc - but the editors don't change this when my articles are promoted to niche sites.

    1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
      Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Ah yeah, I forgot about the word plimsolls. I grew up in England and now remember we used that word for PE (In Australia PT or PE). We mostly use the spelling Labour in Australia although both Labour and Labor are acceptable and our political party is spelt Labor party.

  4. ziyena profile image91
    ziyenaposted 5 years ago

    ProWritingAid software is a great tool for determining language variations in English  … of course for a subscription fee

  5. Rupert Taylor profile image94
    Rupert Taylorposted 5 years ago

    Time to resurrect Churchill's quip? "America and Britain are two countries divided by a common language."

  6. Duane Hennessy profile image75
    Duane Hennessyposted 5 years ago

    lol, Churchill's quip is funny. How comes politicians don't say time immemorial things like this anymore?

  7. PaulGoodman67 profile image96
    PaulGoodman67posted 5 years ago

    I just bite the bullet and write in American English on Hubpages. There are a lot more complications than the obvious stuff like color and colour, though. I am a Brit living in Florida, so you would think I would know all the Americanisms, but I still need my American wife to point out words and phrases that are different. Some of the grammar is different too. I treat it as a kind of job, I don't really get upset over cultural differences, I can write British English other places.

    1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
      Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, I remember when I was practicing fencing and the instructor/maestro, who was Canadian French, said something like "If I told you something like that you'd think I was full of beans." and there was this confused look on everyone's face and I luckily had come across the difference in meaning once before so I could explain to my wife he meant "full of sh*t" and not "full of energy". lol That was funny. Then you get fannypack etc. Hey in Australia we call flip-flops "thongs", imagine how well that goes down in Europe. "Yeah, I'll just wear my thongs down to the shops."

      1. theraggededge profile image97
        theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        And one of my dogs is a Golden Doodle, and I hear that doesn't go down too well in Australia big_smile I think they rename them, Groodles.

        1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
          Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Down South I think we cool that a Labradoodle? Yeah, doodle is kind of a kid's word for well... hahaha.

          I did have a laugh when a friend of mine from Andover I was Skyping kept having intermittent dropouts and said it was probably the router under his bed. He pronouned it rooter whereas we pronounce is rou-ter. You probably already know but the word root in Australia means the same as shag in England. LOL.

    2. Duane Hennessy profile image75
      Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Oh yeah, I bit the bullet and changed runners to sneakers and obviously used flip-flops in lieu of thongs.

  8. Titia profile image92
    Titiaposted 5 years ago

    Imagine how confusing this all is for us - the non native English speaking people lol

    1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
      Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It's interesting isn't it. English has been influenced by many languages, mostly Germanic and Dutch with smatterings of French, Danish, Italian (from Romans), Greek etc. Nowadays our words are from all over the world. Here's a list of the craziness here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_o … _of_origin

      Worse I guess is I'm from Melbourne Australia so there is Greek and Italian thrown in so you'll here words like "Malaka!" and phrases like "Va fanculo" at times. Melbourne has the biggest Greek population outside of Athens. We say "Ciao" and air-kiss which get's awkward in other States like Queensland where you automatically go to kiss someone on the cheek and they freak and back off lol.

      By day I work in IT where we have many Indians, Filipinos and Israelis all with different accents. We can't pronounce Indian surnames and they can't pronounce Greek surnames :-D The Filipinos use nicknames at the end of their emails so one guy I deal with calls himself "Mac" but his name is Jerimar. Another whose name is Aquiles signs his emails "Boy" and we were like "WTF? Does he know the connotations of that word?" Like if I called out "Hey, Boy!" I'd be dragged to HR so fast hahaha.

      1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
        Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I hope you understood what I wrote, lol, sorry, just thought about that.

        1. Titia profile image92
          Titiaposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          LOL I understand English perfectly

          1. Duane Hennessy profile image75
            Duane Hennessyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            lol coolies.

  9. Kenna McHugh profile image91
    Kenna McHughposted 5 years ago

    I spoke with an Aussie while visiting Florida. I could not understand half of what he was saying. Great guy, but it was not easy communicating. It reminded me of the Low Dutch and High Dutch. : )

  10. Duane Hennessy profile image75
    Duane Hennessyposted 5 years ago

    LOL that's so funny! Saturday, when I was out riding with my wife and cousin, we dropped in to a cafe and I spoke to a waitress from Chile and she said that she could understand people speaking English from the US and England but Australians were difficult to understand. It was a bit of a shock because I thought we were different but that different. Turns out we are lol.

    My accent is a mix of English and Australian and twice I've had people ask if I was South African lol and I sound nothing like that. But then when I speak Spanish it's a mix of Argentine, Mexican and European Spanish. I can't win :-D

  11. PaulGoodman67 profile image96
    PaulGoodman67posted 5 years ago

    It's not just the words, phrases, grammar that's different, I learned. Americans use English in a very different way to English people. Americans are far more direct. English people often imply things rather than state them, and use wordplay and irony much more. When writing, you have to adjust your "voice" to be more American. That's another thing my American wife can home in on.

  12. Duane Hennessy profile image75
    Duane Hennessyposted 5 years ago

    Check this out. Once I've written my articles I often do a Google Trends search on topics and words and it turns out over the last 12 months sneakers edges just over runners in everywhere except Tasmania and it maybe because we as a nation shop online from the US a lot.

    https://trends.google.com/trends/explor … rs,Runners


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