British English, American English, a mix of both?
I’m pretty good at spelling. Of course there are easy words I make mistakes with due to years of misspelling them and not noticing or being corrected. One that springs to mind is the word “congratulations”. I finally realized/realised I had been spelling it incorrectly for two decades at a teaching workshop I gave in Japan about 15 years ago. As part of a demo activity, I wrote “congragulations” on the white board in big letters. It took several teachers to convince me it was misspelled / misspelt. A few years ago. a student in Abu Dhabi was kind enough to point out it was “separate” and not “seperate”. I’m sure the best of us also have words that cause them problems.
Spelling became a bigger issue for me when I started my BreakingNewsEnglish site. I had two problems:
1. I had spent the previous 10 years working largely with U..S textbooks, American teachers and looking at websites full of American English. I suddenly became aware of the fact that I could not say with 100% conviction whether “realized” or “realised” was British or American English. I bet there’s even a Latin name for the confusion. I haven’t forgotten that “theatre”, “colour”, “catalogue”, “programme”, “spilt” and “encyclopaedia” are British while “theater”, “color”, “catalog”, “programme”, “spilled” and “encyclopedia” are American.
2. Which version should I include on my news website? Some visitors have told me they cannot use my materials because of the British spelling, and then the American spelling when I changed it… I have also tried giving both variants.
My thinking at the moment is that I don’t think it makes an awful lot of difference on my website. It’s used all over the world by students who are exposed to both British and American English. I’m sure many will not agree with this.
What do you think?