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"THE orthography of our language," says Goold Brown,' “is attended with much uncertainty and perplexity; many words are variously spelled by the best scholars, and many others are not usually written according to the analogy of similar words." The international copyright law has worked a curious change in the orthography of some American books.
Until lately American publishers used the shorter and simpler form of such words as armor, “honor," “labor," omitting the “u, common to English spelling; in words like “civilize, “utilize," etc., the American form “ize" displaced the British “ise.” Now, however, some American publishers have gone back to the old-fashioned forms so tenaciously cherished by the British. The reason for this is found in the fact that American books have invaded England.
No longer can American publishers be twitted with Sydney Smith's caustic query: “In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American
1 The Institutes of English Grammar; p. 32.
book ?" The Briton no longer objects to reading it—in fact, he looks for it; but prefers the orthography so dear to his conservative heart. The result is that some publishers have deemed it necessary, in order to sell American books in England, to spell in the British way. On account of this the author, before he commences to write, should determine for himself the authority on spelling he intends to follow. Sometimes, however, the matter is left to the discretion of the publisher.
In recent years great strides have been made, especially in the United States, toward simplifying the spelling of words. Dr. I. K. Funk, in his magnum opus, the “Standard Dictionary," states that "in its effort to help in simplifying the spelling of words this dictionary is conservative, and yet aggressively positive along the lines of reform agreed upon almost unanimously by the leading philologists." So here is a work with the preponderance of scholarship in its favor that may be followed as a reliable guide in all matters of disputed spelling.
As has already been said, the modern tendency is toward the simplifying of orthography. To this end, the National Educational Association has recently adopted simplified forms for spelling certain words, but it has not yet followed the
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lead of progressive lexicographers who favor the dropping of all silent letters as redundant. The simpler forms of only twelve words have been adopted by the National Educational Association. These forms are :
This advocacy is slowly bearing fruit, and will no doubt ultimately lead to reducing the language to a phonetic basis, which will materially assist students of orthography, and save both time and money.
The trend toward simplified spelling is noticeable in many American publications. Some publishers adopt special forms of words for their composing-rooms. This tendency has already spread to periodicals even of an educational character, and throughout the United States educators have manifested a keen interest in the subject, many advocating the adoption of simplified spellings in such words as offer least resistance, and in others whose forms in poetry have been simplified to meet the exigencies of rime.
There are few printing-offices or publishinghouses that do not establish a set of rules governing typography and orthography for the
guidance of their compositors. The most comprehensive of these is, perhaps, that adopted by the Funk & Wagnalls Company, which is reproduced below.
TO EDITORS, TYPEWRITERS, COMPOSITORS, AND
Please take notice that hereafter the following rules and spellings are to be used in all the publications of the Funk & Wagnalls Company:
1. The dieresis is to be omitted in all English words-as, zoology, cooperation, etc. In AngloGerman words—that is, German words not thoroughly naturalized in English speech and writing -the umlaut is to be retained.
2. The diphthong is to be omitted in all recognized English words-as, egis, fetus, instead of ægis, fætus.
Haiti epaulet hectogram epigram Hongkong esthetic Kaffraria facet
beldam bequeath Bering Sea by and by catalog Chile chlorid
mustache guarantee, v. myth guaraniy, n. nowadays
Of the various classes of words whose spelling is unsettled, that are affected by the movement for simplified spelling, with which an author should familiarize himself, several are given below, characterized as American and English,
American English American
English baksheesh bannerol banyan bastille behaviour belabour bevelled bevelling bichloride bicoloured bombasine Brahmin braise brocatelle brusque
cadastre caffeine calibre caliph caliphate cancellation canceller candour