Re: British vs. American Spelling

Subject: Re: British vs. American Spelling
From: "Michael A. Lewis" <lewism -at- BRANDLE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 14:02:56 +1000

R2 Innovations wrote:
> 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
> language.
> 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
> ways.
> 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

Two comments. First, even where people in non-English-speaking coutries
do learn US English, it seems that British English is regarded as being
of higher prestige. Second, how come you spelled "offense" the US way?
Just wondering :-)
Michael Lewis
Brandle Pty Limited
PO Box 1249
Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: PROACTIVE: It's a Word
Next by Author: Re: ADMIN: Posting Rules Reminder
Previous by Thread: British vs. American Spelling
Next by Thread: Canadian spelling

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads