Author Topic: Toward or towards?  (Read 6306 times)

Offline bonitakale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 497
    • BKEdits: Manuscript Line Editing Service
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2010, 07:15:00 AM »
From what I read here, and the books in my bookcase, I get the impression that if you want to get published with an American publisher you should use toward (and indeed, write realize instead of realise), but if you want to get published with a British publisher towards is the preferred spelling. As is realise.

I'm in the US, and I was under the impression that advertize was a British word. Just looked it up, and it's marked as plain wrong some places, and as American other places. But haven't I seen it used in older British books, or something?

I wish we'd pick a uniform spelling and stick to it. We could change all the z's to s's and drop all the superfluous u's and double letters. And maybe we could use a 27th letter for schwa (we could drop 'c' or 'k' to make up for it, I suppose). I don't mind different usages or words, but to have different spellings for the same word just seems silly and wasteful.
<a href="http://www.BKEdits.com/">Manuscript Line Editing at BKEdits</a>

CCRP

  • Guest
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2010, 07:29:00 AM »
I'm in the US, and I was under the impression that advertize was a British word. Just looked it up, and it's marked as plain wrong some places, and as American other places. But haven't I seen it used in older British books, or something?

I wish we'd pick a uniform spelling and stick to it. We could change all the z's to s's and drop all the superfluous u's and double letters. And maybe we could use a 27th letter for schwa (we could drop 'c' or 'k' to make up for it, I suppose). I don't mind different usages or words, but to have different spellings for the same word just seems silly and wasteful.

Although English is one of the easiest languages in the world, it's spelling is one of the most difficult, I think. This is because English spelling isn't phonetic, as it is in e.g. Dutch, which I've been told is one of the more difficult languages to master (although I never thought about Dutch as difficult, and most little children here speak it quite fluently already  :D ).

English spelling can be quite confusing. How do you pronounce Rowling, e.g.? I used to think the first part of her name was pronounced as the noun row, meaning fight. Not as the verb (to) row (in a boat, on the river). I felt rather stupid the day I discovered I was wrong.  :-[

And this is just one example.

Why is steak pronounced stake and not steek? And why it bleak pronounced, bleek and not blake?
Same spelling, different pronunciation. It's plain confusing - and even more so for those of us (like me) for whom English is a second language.

Oh, I get it right most of the times, but I always feel silly when I get it wrong. Dutch is so much easier to write. Most words are written the way they are pronounced.

But I digress.

Offline Gyppo

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 72244
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2010, 10:47:18 AM »
Why is steak pronounced stake and not steek? And why it bleak pronounced, bleek and not blake?
Same spelling, different pronunciation. It's plain confusing - and even more so for those of us (like me) for whom English is a second language.

Because English is a 'bastard language', an evolved language made up from so many different root languages, with many borrowed, adopted, and indeed adapted words.  Hugh touched on this a few posts back.

One example: When the French ruled us for a while following the Norman Conquest the peasants learned to speak a form of French, but with our own pronunciation.  The 'masters' tended to stick with Norman French.  When they went back across the channel we kept the words we liked and dumped the rest.  We've done this with nearly every nation we've crossed swords with or occupied for any length of time.  When you consider the former size of the British Empire it's no wonder our language is an accumulation of Anglicised 'guest words'.

What happened however was that although we pronounce the guest words our own way we largely tend to stick to the 'rules' of the original language rather than having one set of rules.  Rather like the way most towns and cities developed over several centuries, with enough twists and turns to confuse almost anyone, but a few 'new build' cities, even in old time, were designed from the start on a logical grid pattern, and later additions had to follow the master plan.

It's also worth bearing in mind that semi-universal literacy is a comparatively modern phenomenon.  My great Gran couldn't read or write, and this wasn't at all uncommon in working class folk.  They didn't need the ability in order to work the land or tend a machine in a cotton mill, and to a certain extent 'social engineering' and 'class expectations' encouraged them not to learn.  The world in Victorian times was a very different place, with education and literacy being seen more as a privilege than a right.  It certainly wasn't seen as a necessity.  Workers can be trained in simple repetitive tasks, or even quite complicated sequences of simple tasks, like performing animals, rather than educating them and then expecting them to willingly learn.

It's an attitude which has never truly died.  One which shows signs of returning when you hear people say - almost proudly - "I don't need no eddication.  I can drive a van and earn an 'undred quid a day.  I don't even need to read road signs now I've got me satnav."

Now I'm digressing.

Gyppo

 
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline WordBird

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7129
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2010, 01:59:47 PM »
Yep,

And my understanding is that it is a combination of Anglo-Saxon German. Which is why there are so many more words in the language as opposed to more "pure" languages. Last I heard there were over 600,000 words in the English language. Some languages have less than a 1/4 of that.

Could be wrong. Working on memory from a class long, long ago.

Offline bonitakale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 497
    • BKEdits: Manuscript Line Editing Service
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2010, 08:14:16 AM »
Yeah, the basic words are Germanic, but there are more Latin-origin words than Germanic ones. And there are a lot of pairs of words that mean almost the same thing, except that the Germanic one is short and sort of ordinary, while the Latin one is more elevated, scholarly, or pedantic.

I love playing with the language, and I can see why the spelling is screwy, but I think we ought to regularise it, anyway.

And, Nelodra, I worked in a library and pronounced Rowling wrong for a long time, as did others, and most of the patrons, and none of us felt the least bit silly about it when we found out how it was pronounced.

I don't know about England, but if you're born in the US, you never expect to know how a name is pronounced before you're told. People get my name (Kale, like the vegetable) wrong at least as often as they get it right. And I met a woman yesterday whose name I pronounced easily until I saw her business card. As soon as I did, the spelling confused me, and I forgot how to pronounce it.

Gyppo, that's frightening. I would have thought, with all the computers, that literacy was becoming more necessary, rather than less so.

<a href="http://www.BKEdits.com/">Manuscript Line Editing at BKEdits</a>

Offline Gyppo

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 72244
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2010, 08:56:27 AM »
Gyppo, that's frightening. I would have thought, with all the computers, that literacy was becoming more necessary, rather than less so.

I hope I'm proven wrong.  I really do.  But there's a lot of folks out there managing without what I would consider the basic survival skills of language.

Gyppo 
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Annevh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2010, 10:14:54 AM »
Wolfe, your explanation of the use of toward/towards being due to publisher expediency was great, but spoiled by your comment
Quote
As writers, we adapt to the needs our audience. Otherwise, the audience fulfills their needs for a good story with another writer.

Can't always have it all ways.
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
Rabbie Burns

Wolfe

  • Guest
Re: Toward or towards?
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2010, 12:41:22 PM »
I have to disagree with Wolfe.  Use the synonym check on Word and the definition is revealed for 'towards' but not for 'toward'.  The English language recognises 'towards' as correct while using 'toward' is still deemed acceptable.  It is just part of the process of americanising the English language and should be recognised as such.

Your responses lack merit because you use too many passives. You also show missing punctuation, lack proper capitalization, and demonstrate cultural bias. Also, the response shows opinion absent of facts in any regard.

Case in point: I use J.I. Rodale's The Synonym Finder. The word 'toward' appears first with multiple synonyms. Towards does not. Your claim that Word's lacking of the synonym makes it canon is laughable at best.

Wolfe, your explanation of the use of toward/towards being due to publisher expediency was great, but spoiled by your comment
Can't always have it all ways.

When you want to critique and criticize someone's posts, you better be damned sure yours are flawless with even more merit in value, instruction, and experience.

Otherwise, you might see a reply like this calling you out on it . . . always.

I hope you get the point of this response, recommend you discontinue that behavior, and my apologies my posts fail to rise to your lofty standards.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 01:15:17 PM by Wolfe »