British vs. American Spelling

Subject: British vs. American Spelling
From: R2 Innovations <R2innovations -at- MYNA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 21:07:02 +0000

At the risk of offending many of the list members I must take exception to the
insinuations that _only_ the American spelling of word is correct. Granted,
the US is the largest single concentration of English-speaking people on earth,
but they _do not_ represent the majority of people using the English

Prior to responding to this thread I made the effort of talking to a
number of people for whom English was not their mother tongue, but
had learned the language in the school systems of their homelands. Some
of the countries represented where India, Pakistan, Egypt, Hong Kong,
Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia. The "version" of spelling taught was
almost universally British. From this observation, I think it is safe to say
that more people using the English language are familiar with the
British spelling than with the American.

Being proud of my Canadian birth, and my British heritage, I
generally use British spelling in my documentation and have never had any
major criticsm from my employer (a large US-based multi national comany) or
those clients for whom I have done contract writing. The only
problem I enountered was with an editor for my book, Documenting ISO
9000: Guidelines for Compliant Documentation, who kept insisting
I use American spelling. In fact she recently posted a
recommendation of the book on this list to which she added an
editorial disclaimer because I elected to stick with my Canadian

I am sure that this post will raise the ire of many of my American
counterparts, but I mean no offense. I just think we should
recognize that the alternative spelling found in many dictionaries is
correct for many people who use the English language, who may
outnumber those for whom the American spelling is considered correct.

Let the flames begin

Ralph E. Robinson
Author of the book "Documenting ISO 9000: Guidelines for
Compliant Documentation" available through R2 Innovations
in Mississuaga, Ontario.

Email address = r2innovations -at- myna -dot- com
Website =

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