Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

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Mr Kite
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Postby Mr Kite » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:50 pm

I like the Guardian's take on this - compare:

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and JK Rowling

with

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and JK Rowling

I'm also a fan of the Oxford z, but everybody thinks it is an Americanism.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Postby Andrew Fryer » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:26 pm

If the Oxford z is what I think it is, I hate it. I've got a feeling someone rationalised it as having come from Greek -zein verbs, but I think that's nonsense - the verbs where we use it are more like to have come from French -iser verbs, and I'm happy to keep the s.
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Mr Kite
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Postby Mr Kite » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:29 pm

I'd agree with you if those words had come to us as part of a written language with consistent spelling (which I agree would have been French or maybe Old French or Norman French) but I don't think that can be what happened. Let's say the relevant variety of French did consistently use -ise - even then, by the time English spelling came to be standardized, we were separated from this practice by four or five centuries. The logic of following the French would then have been that you ought to go back to the source - but in that case why only go back to the French, when the Greek is closer to the source?

I have read that -ize was standard until it became fashionable to copy the French in the nineteenth century, so I see it as a bit foppish and would rather go back to the plain and honest English version (which never really went away).

It's interesting that -ise has resisted Americanization when you would think it would be a prime candidate. The trend is actually away from -ize, with even the Times switching to -ise in the 90s. I can't think of any other respect in which BrE has moved away from AmE.

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Vito Simplicio
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Postby Vito Simplicio » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:35 pm

I was taught, as least I think I was, that the second comma in the example above was optional and more dependent on the length for example: "He went to the store to buy milk, fresh vegetables and bread."
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