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Results 1 to 10 of 327 (page 1 of 33)

Why Canadian spelling is different

A blog post about how Canadian spelling came to be Canadian.Canadian spelling isn’t quite the same as anyone else’s. It’s no secret that we Canadians spell differently from our cousins in the United States: We put a “u” in words like “colour” and “favour”; Americans leave it out We spell “theatre” and “centre” with an “re” at the end; they spell them with an “er” We write cheques for things we order from catalogues, while they order from catalogs and write checks So how did these differences come about?   The roots of the issue After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, French became the language of government. And when French scribes heard English words, they wrote them according to French spelling rules. Meanwhile, the low status of English meant that there was no written standard, so even English writers used their own spellings. By the late Middle Ages, English spelling varied greatly. To add to the confusion, an important change called the Great Vowel Shift took place in spoken English between the 14th and 18th centuries. Over this period, the way words sounded gradually became quite different from the way they were written. As a result, English spelling became less and less logical. During the 15th and 16th centuries, a number of scholars tried to standardize English spelling or even reform it, but with little success. England’s Samuel Johnson In 1755, Samuel Johnson published his 40,000-word Dictionary of the English Language. Johnson didn’t try to reform spelling to make it more logical. Instead, he simply chose the most common spellings in use at the time. It is interesting to note that most words in his dictionary are spelled the same way they are today. The biggest difference is that words written today with an “ic” all end in “ick”: “comick,” “magick,” “musick,” “romantick.” Johnson’s dictionary was very popular and became the main reference for spelling in England for more than 150 years. But although English spelling had become standardized, it hadn’t gotten any more logical. America’s Noah Webster Several decades after Johnson’s dictionary appeared, Noah Webster (of Webster’s Dictionary fame) set out to reform American spelling by making it simpler. For instance, he dropped the “u” from words like “colour” and the “k” from words like “musick.” He also adopted the “er” ending for words like “center” and the “ize” ending for verbs like “organize.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary and 1829 speller became the primary spelling references for generations of Americans. Canada’s Sir John A. As time went on, American spelling practices began to creep over the border. In 1890, Sir John A. Macdonald was asked what spellings should be used in Canada. Our first prime minister felt strongly that all parts of the British Empire should hold to the system used in England. And he ordered that “the English practice be uniformly followed” in all government documents. Thus, British spelling was upheld as the standard in Canada. Canadian spelling today Language changes; and in spite of Sir John A., our neighbours to the south have made some inroads into Canadian spelling. For example, we’ve adopted the American ending “ize” instead of “ise” in verbs like “organize,” “civilize” and “specialize.” And like the Americans, we spell “encyclopedia” (and most other words like it) with an “e” instead of an “ae.” So if our spelling is partly American and partly British, how can we be sure we’re choosing the right forms for a Canadian audience? The best bet is to check a reliable Canadian dictionary (such as the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, the Gage Canadian Dictionary or the Collins Canadian Dictionary) for the spellings accepted in Canada. When more than one spelling is listed, it is the first one that most Canadians prefer. What do you think about Canadian spelling? Would you do anything to change or improve it? Tell us your opinion in a comment.
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 180,805

Canadian spelling: Pretty tricky, eh?

A quiz on Canadian spelling.Choose the correct Canadian spelling for each set of words. 1. Set 1 honourhonorhonur2. Set 2 honorablehonourable3. Set 3 honoraryhonourary4. Set 4 travelingtravelling5. Set 5 authorauthour6. Set 6 tyretire7. Set 7 toquetuque8. Set 8 nationalizenationalise9. Set 9 theater centertheatre centretheatre centertheater centre10. Set 10 humouristhumorist  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 56,583

spelling: words with “ei” and “ie”

An article on words spelled with the letter sequence ei or ie.
The well-known “rule” is stated in the following jingle: “i before e except after c, or when sounded as a as in neighbour and weigh.” However, there are many exceptions to this guideline. Some common ones are listed below. Exceptions Words with the letters ie coming after c deficient/efficient/sufficient, etc. science species Words with the letters ei not coming after c and not sounded as a either/neither feisty foreign forfeit heifer height heist leisure seize sovereign their weird
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 36,702

Canadian, British and American: It’s all English, but the spelling is different

An English blog post about the variant spellings used in Canada, Britain and America.I’m a proud Canadian. I grew up in the Niagara (Falls) Region, so I watched and listened to Toronto and Buffalo television and radio stations. I was still in elementary school when I became aware of the differences between Canadian and American English. “Canadian English is a variety of English in its own right,” Oxford’s Guide to Canadian English Usage (1997) reads. “In the past, however, Canadians seeking information or advice on their language had to look to either British or American dictionaries and usage guides, neither of which reflected the distinctiveness of Canadian English.” “Because Canada has its own political, cultural, historical, and geographical realities, it has its own words to describe those realities…. dictionaries inevitably describe and reflect the language and culture of the country in which they are edited,” reads the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. “Canadians need a dictionary that defines the words used by Canadians and also records how Canadians (not the Americans or the British) pronounce and spell words.” Most Canadian style guides, including The Canadian Press Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors and The Canadian Press Caps and Spellings, are based on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. The standard American dictionary is the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. The Concise Oxford Dictionary is the usual option for British writers and editors. Sheila Ethier shared a great blog post called “Why Canadian spelling is different.” In it, she looked at the people at the root of those differences, including England’s Samuel Johnson, America’s Noah Webster and Canada’s Sir John A. Macdonald. In this post, I wanted to share some of the ways in which our Canadian hybrid spelling patterns are different from those of our British and American cousins, so readers like you know what to be on the lookout for. How they differ The 10 categories of spelling variations listed in Editing Canadian English: A Guide for Editors, Writers, and Everyone Who Works with Words are based on Robert Ireland’s Canadian Spelling: An Empirical and Historical Survey of Selected Works (1979 York University PhD dissertation). “The spellings of colour and centre, in particular, have in recent years come to be greatly (even passionately) preferred over the corresponding American variants; indeed, some Canadians view them as cultural touchstones, important for their symbolic role in distinguishing Canadian from American discourse,” Editing Canadian English reads. “A 2010 study (Kevin Heffernan et al.) found that colour and centre ‘seem to do more than their share of the ideological work’ in this regard. While there are several hundred words with standard British and American versions, ‘reference in the media to spelling variation and Canadian identity seldom go beyond discussing these two examples.’” I started creating the table below by referring to Writing Tips Plus, The Canadian Press Stylebook and The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling before referring to Editing Canadian English, which has the most information. The table highlights the nine areas where Canadian, British and American spellings are most likely to vary. Variant spellings by category Word family CanadianOxford spelling Concise Oxford(British) spelling Merriam-Webster(American) spelling Words with -our or -or labour honour humour laborious honorary humorous labour honour humour laborious honorary humorous labor honor humor laborious honorary humorous Words with -re or -er centre fibre sombre meter (device) metre (metric unit) centre fibre sombre meter (device) metre (SI unit) center fiber somber meter (all uses) Words with -yze, -yse, -ize or -ise and their derived forms analyze paralyze organize analysis paralysis organization analyse paralyse organise analysis paralysis organisation analyze paralyze organize analysis paralysis organization Words with -ce or -se defence offence licence (noun) license (verb) practice (noun) practise (verb) defence offence licence (noun) license (verb) practice (noun) practise (verb) defense offense license (nounand verb) practice (nounand verb) Words with double or single “l” and their derivatives instill table 1 note * enrol fulfillmenttable 1 note * instalment instil enrol fulfilment instalment instill enroll fulfillment installment Words with double or single consonants in the past tense travelled labelled marshalled benefited budgeted targeted travelled labelled marshalled benefited budgeted targeted traveled labeled marshaled benefited budgeted targeted Words with single vowels or diphthongs (e.g., “ae” and “oe”) encyclopedia hemorrhage pediatric aesthetictable 1 note * hors d’oeuvre manoeuvre encyclopaedia haemorrhage paediatric aesthetic hors d’oeuvre manoeuvre encyclopedia hemorrhage pediatric aesthetic hors d’oeuvre maneuver Words in which the silent “e” is deleted or kept before a suffix aging judgment lovable sizable likeabletable 1 note * saleabletable 1 note * acknowledgementtable 1 note * ageing judgement lovable sizeable likeable saleable acknowledgement aging judgment lovable sizeable likable salable acknowledgment Loan words with traditional or anglicized plural forms tableauxtable 1 note * châteaux formulaetable 1 note *(math and chemistry) referendums appendicestable 1 note * indexes (back of book) indicestable 1 note *(technical) formulas (not math and chemistry) tableaux chateaux formulae (math and chemistry) referendums appendices indexes (back of book) indices (technical) formulas (not math and chemistry) tableaux châteaus formulas (all uses) referenda appendixes indexes (all uses) Table 1 note(s) Table 1 note * Canadian Press differs from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Return to table 1 note * referrer
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 27,545

Honouring Indigenous Peoples

An English quiz in which the user answers language-related questions on the theme of Indigenous peoples.Try our quiz to learn about Indigenous Peoples and test your knowledge of certain points of English too!1. In Canada, the term “” refers to an Indigenous grouping composed of many different nations having their own origin, history and culture, and whose members have called North America home from time immemorial.First Nationsfirst nations2. The epic poem The Song of Hiawatha is based on Ojibwe legends the real Hiawatha was an important Iroquois leader., although. Although,3. Inuktut is the native language of .the Inuit peopleInuit4. Six Nations, the largest reserve in is home to members of all six Iroquois nations.CanadaCanada,5. The word “caribou” comes from the language.Mi’kmaqMickmac6. Michif is the traditional language of the Métis peoples in the Canadian it is mainly a mixture of Cree and French.Prairies;Prairies,7. In Canada, the preferred collective term for Indians, Inuit and Métis is Peoples.AboriginalIndigenous8. The are the largest group of First Nations in Canada.CreesCris9. The Constitution of the Haida Nation states, “Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us.”us”.10. The traditional hunting grounds of the Siksika, or Blackfoot, were the buffalo ranges in Alberta and Montana.Southern, Northernsouthern, northern  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 22,528

Canadian spelling: Which spelling is preferred?

A quiz on Canadian spelling.Choose the preferred Canadian spelling for each set of words. 1. anemia, anaemia or anemeia anemiaanaemiaanemeia2. vaporise, vapourize or vaporize vaporisevapourizevaporize3. jugement, judgment or judgement jugementjudgmentjudgement4. signaler or signaller signalersignaller5. catalog, catallog or catalogue catalogcatallogcatalogue6. maneuvre, manoeuver, manoeuvre or maneuver maneuvremanoeuvermanoeuvremaneuver7. mold, mould or molde moldmouldmolde8. adviser or advisor adviseradvisor  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 20,480

Doubling the final consonant before a vowel

An English-language quiz on doubling the final consonant before a vowelIn English, when we add an ending that begins with a vowel (-ed, -ing, etc.) to a word that ends in a consonant, we sometimes double that consonant. But sometimes we don't! Do you know when to double? See if you can tell whether the words are correctly spelled in the questions below.1. occurredcorrectincorrect2. stooppedcorrectincorrect3. acquittalcorrectincorrect4. benefitedcorrectincorrect5. preferrencecorrectincorrect6. gumycorrectincorrect7. commitalcorrectincorrect8. indentingcorrectincorrect9. fittedcorrectincorrect10. maddencorrectincorrect  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 18,875

cannot, can not

A writing tip on how to use cannot and can not.
Both cannot and can not are correct. However, cannot is the far more common spelling and should be used in most cases. We recommend the following guidelines. Single word Use cannot in most cases when the meaning is “be unable to”: Ted cannot (is unable to) find his keys. The parties cannot (are unable to) agree. Erica cannot (is unable to) play at the jazz festival. Note: The contraction is can’t. Two words Use can not when you want to give particular emphasis to the word not: No, Mr. Smith can not use the company car. His licence has been suspended. Erica can not reach a speed of 75 km per hour on her bike! I refuse to believe such an absurd claim! Use can not when the word not belongs with a separate structure: Jessica can not only add but also multiply large numbers in her head. [not is part of the expression not only…but also] Abdul can enter the contest, or he can not enter it, as he likes. [not belongs with enter: can not enter = is able to not enter] OR Abdul can enter the contest or not, as he likes.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 17,434

aging, ageing

A writing tip on how to spell the adjective aging and its variant.
In Canada and the U.S., the preferred spelling is aging. British usage favours the variant ageing, which is also accepted in Canada. Kerry is researching the impact of an aging population on the health care system.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 17,337

leap, leaped, leapt

A writing tip on the difference between the verb forms leap, leaped and leapt.
The past tense of leap is leaped (pronounced leepd) or leapt (pronounced lept). The verb is often followed by prepositions such as at, down, from, into, on, onto, out of, over, toward, up, and upon. Holger leapt at the chance to show off his wit. The lion leaped from his hiding place upon his prey. The cat leapt onto the windowsill to stare at the chickadees perched on the feeder. The startled frog leaped out of the water, as the children leaped into the pond. The toddler leapt up and down, delighted at the sight of her new puppy.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 16,447