You get used to the way Americans mangle the beautiful English language. It’s a little ironic given that our native tongue is the most borrowed and bastardised in human history.

English, of course, has roots in Ancient Greek, Germanic and Nordic tongues, Indian (bungalow and shampoo for example), Celtic strains, Northern European  people’s (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) and Norman French as well as more distant Latin roots. So we get words like neighbourhood and colour which contain silent u’s and we are quite comfortable with that. But Americans hate unnecessariness and France in almost equal measure so they dropped the French-influenced u’s long ago. So colour becomes color over here which does take a little getting used to (especially as my brain sees it as the word colon. Incidentally what our cousins here in the colonies fail to appreciate is that whilst the u might be silent, it is there to subtlely alter the sound of the second o to something more like ‘er’.  But of course if Americans got subtlety they wouldn’t have voted for a twonk as President).

Anyway I saw an advertising sign in the window of a national pharmacy chain store the other day which made me think they’re taking this literal spelling lark a bit far. See if you can spot the littel offender….



10 thoughts on “Mis-spelling

  1. I have to speak up in defence of my fellow countrymen.
    When Noah Webster produced the first American dictionary, he had the very democratic idea of making English as simple as possible. He believed that it was more important to maximise the number of people who could communicate clearly, at the cost of a minority who could memorise irrational rules. So unvoiced ‘u’s and doubling consonants when adding ‘ing’ were generally ditched and he decided, arbitrarily, on ‘ize’ rather than a mix of that and ‘ise’. And I defy anyone to distinguish ‘color’ from ‘colour’!!!!
    I also like ‘thru’ for ‘through’.
    English spelling is difficult enuff without putting unnecessary tripwires around the place!
    One of my favourite (another useless ‘u’) oddities is that, in the States, the US Postal Service employs mailmen to deliver the post; whereas in the UK, the Royal Mail employs postmen to deliver the mail.
    And when you visit your friends in Connecticut, you will drive on the parkways and park in their driveway.


    1. A lovely American response thank you bmp2. I get all that but the fact you think there’s no difference between the pronunciation of color and colour speaks volumes for our different tongues. It’s subtle but different. It’s doesn’t matter. I’m living here in America with my family and loving it. I’m the one who has to adapt and I happily do it but but my English grounding is embedded deeply. FBP


      1. I don’t want to sound all prissy about this btw, I already find myself using the word elevator (for lift) and trash/garbage (for rubbish). And it has to be admitted that the greatest source of new words introduced into English certainly in the last 100 years has been Americanisms. Thankfully ‘thru’ hasn’t made the transition, yet. FBP


  2. So why is it a sidewalk? I don’t see many people walking sideways on it 🙂 (I know, I know, you’re walking to the side of the road … which btw is called the pavement). Confused much?


  3. Hi Brian Thanks for reaching out bud. Interesting prog and I just love Ms Dent. Yep we’re having a cool time thanks. Hope the book’s selling well – I’m still to order mine though not sure when I’ll ever get to read it. Love to S


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