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Old 07-18-2018, 02:46 PM   #1
ilamont
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British/Canadian to American Spelling

I wonder if any of you good folk have come across a converter, that'll seek out and perhaps change British and Canadian spelling, to standard American?

flavour to flavor
honour to honor
dialogue to dialog
etc. etc.

There are many hundreds of them. I give it my best shot, finding them with Word's 'find and replace' routine, but I still miss the occasional one. As this site is based in the US and I suspect many of its denizens are in the US, it only seems polite to try to get the spelling right.

Thanks
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilamont View Post
I wonder if any of you good folk have come across a converter, that'll seek out and perhaps change British and Canadian spelling, to standard American?

flavour to flavor
honour to honor
dialogue to dialog
etc. etc.

There are many hundreds of them. I give it my best shot, finding them with Word's 'find and replace' routine, but I still miss the occasional one. As this site is based in the US and I suspect many of its denizens are in the US, it only seems polite to try to get the spelling right.

Thanks
IL

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I'm not aware of anything like this.

Speaking as a partisan American who thinks American spelling is, generally speaking, simpler and more logical, I'll say: I don't think this matters. You won't get any flak here using British spelling. This site has a lot of British/Canadian/Australian writers and readers. Every semi-literate American has read British literature with British spelling conventions. I don't even notice the differences when I read stories written in the British style. My guess is most other Lit readers are the same way.

If you want to write like an American, that's fine, but I wouldn't sweat it if you're more comfortable with British spelling.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:21 PM   #3
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I'm not aware of any conversion program beyond using manual search/replace yourself, but I echo Simon that, as long as you're consistent and the words are fairly standardly known, you'll be OK. Occasionally, we get complaints about British spellings not getting through the submissions process and there likely are some British variants that are unfamiliar to the American Web site, but there shouldn't be enough of those to warrant trying to make changes and not getting them done consistently.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilamont View Post
I give it my best shot, finding them with Word's 'find and replace' routine, but I still miss the occasional one. As this site is based in the US and I suspect many of its denizens are in the US, it only seems polite to try to get the spelling right.
You might be able to change your word processor's dictionary from UK English to US English. That probably won't automatically correct the spelling, but it will at least highlight the instances.

But then, as others have said, it's not such a big deal.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:29 PM   #5
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I suggest you write in the language you know best.
If it gets tricky, put a little "authors note" at the front explaining the conventions.
I fear that if you try to do your conversion, someone will cry "fowl" and give you a one-bomb out of spite.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post
I suggest you write in the language you know best.
If it gets tricky, put a little "authors note" at the front explaining the conventions.
I fear that if you try to do your conversion, someone will cry "fowl" and give you a one-bomb out of spite.
What he just said, I think.

Plot, grammar and spelling are more important. I wouldn't even bother with an suthor's note.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:53 PM   #7
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Okay, that's great advice. Many thanks, all... IL
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:44 PM   #8
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I generally write in Australian English and the only time it's ever caused an issue here was once when I used a term which is a serious racial slur in British English.

The only time I've aimed for US English was when I was writing a story set in America with an American first-person narrator.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:36 PM   #9
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I figure as a Canadian, History gave me British spellings, Geography gave me American spellings. I use the both, interchangeably. On Labour Day I'm going to the harbor to get the flavour of the dialog between the tourists and the locals.

But, I need a translator for Canadianisms that Americans, Brits, Aussies and other English speakers don't understand, like

Concession, a road, usually numbered (The 2nd Concession of Persephone Township) often gravel in rural Ontario

Pickerel, which is what a walleye becomes when it crosses the border, say on Lake Erie.

Tuque, a knitted winter hat

Rye, Canadian Whisky, made from rye, corn and barley.

Butter tarts, nanimo bar, poutine, double-double, beaver tail, and prarie oyster are foods that I can't readily explain. But, you can start a fight at a bake sale in Canada by asking for butter tarts, and then saying, as appropriate, "Why are / aren't there raisins in these?"

And this doesn't even include Newfoundland. (You just pronounced that wrong; it rhymes with "understand").
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TANSTAAFL58 View Post
I figure as a Canadian, History gave me British spellings, Geography gave me American spellings. I use the both, interchangeably. On Labour Day I'm going to the harbor to get the flavour of the dialog between the tourists and the locals.
And in Australia we have the Labor Party which looks after the interests of labourers, who often work at docks in harbours, except Victor Harbor which is the name of a town. Swimmers in South Australia wear bathers, and bathers in NSW wear swimmers. Girls on the north coast wear bikini bottoms, but often get by without tops. If you tried to explain it all to other folk, you'd fail every time, so why bother?

English is a common language divided by nations, by north and south, east and west. All you should do, I reckon, is write from the culture you're in. I find most people can figure it out without it being pointed out, and certainly without a translation.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post
I suggest you write in the language you know best.
If it gets tricky, put a little "authors note" at the front explaining the conventions.
I fear that if you try to do your conversion, someone will cry "fowl" and give you a one-bomb out of spite.
'fowl' and 'foul' mean different things.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:33 PM   #12
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And in Australia we have the Labor Party which looks after the interests of labourers, who often work at docks in harbours, except Victor Harbor which is the name of a town.
Don't forget the Liberal Party, who are the main conservative party.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:44 PM   #13
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Speaking as a Canadian...

I've taken to having my Canadian/British Empire characters use that form of spelling, and my American characters use the American versions, even in the same story. I just like it that way.

I admit, tho, words look really weird to me if they're missing the 'u'...
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:06 PM   #14
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I'm a Brit ex-pat, and fortunately, I've been in the US long enough to automatically spell words in the American standard.

HOWEVER:

Spelling is the least of your problems. I've read stories on Lit which were obviously written by Brits, trying to pass themselves off as Americans, and failing dismally. the problem isn't just the spelling - it's also:
- Idioms
- Words that have different meanings (there must be over 1,000!)
- Manners of speech
- Slang
- Etc...

My suggestion: If you haven't lived in the USA for a long time - don't pretend to be an American. It won't work.

Your stories will have far more credibility of you write in the prose that comes naturally to you.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haulover View Post
I'm a Brit ex-pat, and fortunately, I've been in the US long enough to automatically spell words in the American standard.

HOWEVER:

Spelling is the least of your problems. I've read stories on Lit which were obviously written by Brits, trying to pass themselves off as Americans, and failing dismally. the problem isn't just the spelling - it's also:
- Idioms
- Words that have different meanings (there must be over 1,000!)
- Manners of speech
- Slang
- Etc...

My suggestion: If you haven't lived in the USA for a long time - don't pretend to be an American. It won't work.

Your stories will have far more credibility of you write in the prose that comes naturally to you.
Goes with British TV productions with American characters, which think there's a standard gruesomely flat Midwest accent that defines an American.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:43 PM   #16
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Cheeky Canadian

suggestion: don't use the letter "u", ever. Same thing with the "gh" phoneme. For example, not night, but nite.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Haulover View Post
My suggestion: If you haven't lived in the USA for a long time - don't pretend to be an American. It won't work.

Your stories will have far more credibility of you write in the prose that comes naturally to you.
Non Aussies should take note for the Sunburned Country anthology thing. I for one will be watching out for shocking attempts at Strine, both speech and culture .
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:27 AM   #18
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Whenever I want to use US spellings, I switch Word to US English and do a spell check. It highlights the UK spellings I've missed.

But my default is to write in UK English and expect others to understand. If a word has a different meaning or there is a different word I try to work around it e.g. sidewalk/pavement, auto hood/car bonnet, etc.
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TANSTAAFL58 View Post
I figure as a Canadian, History gave me British spellings, Geography gave me American spellings. I use the both, interchangeably. On Labour Day I'm going to the harbor to get the flavour of the dialog between the tourists and the locals.

But, I need a translator for Canadianisms that Americans, Brits, Aussies and other English speakers don't understand, like

Concession, a road, usually numbered (The 2nd Concession of Persephone Township) often gravel in rural Ontario

Pickerel, which is what a walleye becomes when it crosses the border, say on Lake Erie.

Tuque, a knitted winter hat

Rye, Canadian Whisky, made from rye, corn and barley.

Butter tarts, nanimo bar, poutine, double-double, beaver tail, and prarie oyster are foods that I can't readily explain. But, you can start a fight at a bake sale in Canada by asking for butter tarts, and then saying, as appropriate, "Why are / aren't there raisins in these?"

And this doesn't even include Newfoundland. (You just pronounced that wrong; it rhymes with "understand").
Maybe you can get Maggie or the Squire to translate for you?

BTW, I know what's in Nanaimo bars...
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Richard View Post
'fowl' and 'foul' mean different things.
Spelling mistake
probably caused by fingers tripping up, or an auto-complete going wrong.
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:02 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post
Spelling mistake
probably caused by fingers tripping up, or an auto-complete going wrong.
I took it as a pun. Around here, it would have worked.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:27 PM   #22
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I fear that if you try to do your conversion, someone will cry "fowl" and give you a one-bomb out of spite.
Those turkeys would be too chicken to try.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:53 PM   #23
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I actually like British spellings better.... :P

I think your safe.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:14 PM   #24
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Can either Canadian or Australian (and New Zealand?) authors here identify how closely their systems hew to the British style and where they commonly diverge from that?

My coauthor is mostly Australian, but was born in Singapore and now lives in Europe, and we usually end up using American style for cowritten pieces.

Also, to something I saw posted earlier, the determining factor on style used shouldn't be the physical location or era of the story but the targeted reader audience. Idiom and spelling are two different issues.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:39 PM   #25
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Pickerel, which is what a walleye becomes when it crosses the border, say on Lake Erie.
Uh, use Google and you will find they are completely different fish. Yes, the Pickerel is in the same family as a musky but the Walleye is in the perch family. I've caught a lot of both and they look nothing alike. Pickerel love shallow grassy areas and Walleye love deeper water and open space around rocks or structure.

Yes, the dirty old man is a fisherman from way back.
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