I recognize that I am just one of tens of thousands of bloggers on the internet. I write my own blog, I read other blogs, and I general do what I can promote both my work and the work of other bloggers that I find to be of similar or better quality as I am. I also recognize that there are a significant number of bloggers in the world who speak and write in American English, while there are also a significant number of bloggers in the world who speak and write in British English, aka Queen’s English, aka Received Pronunciation.
As you might imagine, the differences between these two dialects of the same languages can cause for problems in many situations for both Americans and Brits. For example, the word “fanny” is a lighthearted way to refer to one’s buttocks in the USA, while the same word is another word for vagina if you’re in the UK((or Australia and New Zealand, for that matter)). This causes needless confusion for international travellers, business people such as myself who work with individuals across multiple countries, and the general populace of all nations involved.
I propose that Americans and Brits work together to bring the two dialects together to some commonality. While I recognize that this may not be a completely plausible exercise (after all, there are many regional dialects within the USA that can’t say words right…I’m looking at you, South Carolina), I feel as though I have some minor suggestions that can help us to get started on the right path. In the interest of fairness, for every change I’ve made to British English, I’ve made a similar change to American English, and vice versa.
Americans: Start pronouncing literally as “lit-tra-ly”
Brits: Start pronouncing garage as “gra-ge”
Let’s start with a pronunciation one, shall we? I’ve taken the single most annoying word to pronounce in both dialects((This assumes you’re pronouncing the words correctly for your dialect, of course. My mother pronounces “wash” as “warsh”, which is just stupid, but that doesn’t count for our purposes.)) and stricken it from the vernacular. Garage should not rhyme with carriage. It just shouldn’t. 99.9% of the time, Brits sound far more eloquent and educated than we Americans. You know what that .1% is? The word garage. Meanwhile, Americans’ overuse of the word literally is absurd and needs to be stopped((Literally.)). Changing the pronunciation of the word will force people to realize that they’re saying it, at which point hopefully they’ll stop abusing it.
Americans and Brits: Let’s standardize when the double L is used
You want to know why people hate learning English in any country? Because it’s a terribly inconsistent language. The case of the double L is a great example of this. Someone you need to talk to in order to get help is a counsellor or a counselor, depending on where you’re located. Likewise, words like distil(l), cal(l)iper, skil(l)ful, and marvel(l)ous exist just to piss off copy editors. And don’t get me started on jewel(le)ry, which adds multiple letters because no particular reason at all. New rule here: every L gets doubled if it ends a word, just like pretty much every other consonant in existence.
Americans: Replace “ass” with “arse”
Brits: Replace “mum/mummy” with “mom/mommy”
Another net improvement for both sides, I think. For Brits, you’ve now eliminated the possible confusion of having to teach your child that the thing in an Egyptian sarcophagus is not, in fact, your mother((Unless it actually is, in which case you’re a time traveller.)). Meanwhile, Americans make a curse word that is losing its power immediately have forcefulness once again((Although, I just realized Brits adding a R to ass is like my mom adding a R to wash. I’m not sure I’m okay with this anymore)).
Americans: Start spelling “check” as “cheque”
Brits: Start spelling “liquorice” as “licorice”
I know what you’re thinking, why wouldn’t you standardize the usage of the letter Q across these words? I considered it for a moment, as I do think there should be far more words with the letter Q in them, which is why I feel Americans should switch to the cheque spelling. But then I realized a very important point. There’s no liquor in licorice. Therefore, it doesn’t get to have liquor be part of its spelling. You’re all welcome.
Speaking of liquor…
Americans: Start spelling “whiskey” as “whisky”
Brits: Start spelling “tyre” as “tire”
When you’ve had enough alcohol, you have trouble spelling. It’s vital to alcoholics and college students everywhere that we shorten the spelling to whisky to save lives. As for tire, take the T off of the front of the word and see which one doesn’t sound stupid((To be fair, it’s really “wire” vs. “ire”, but just go with me here)).
Americans: Adopt the Oxford spelling of -ize/-ise words (see: realise vs. realize)
Brits: Drop the extraneous U from some words (see: color vs. colour)
My final point is nothing more than a way to help make both forms of English sound less angry. And by make both forms sound less angry, I mean make people reading cross-dialect less angry at potential misspellings. In having someone from the UK edit my book, they said something to the effect of “I was concerned you didn’t know how to spell, but then I remembered you’re just American”. What better way to get rid of that same stereotype and bring multiple countries together by fixing two of the biggest spelling differences that keep us apart?
Front page image credit freestock.ca