Noah Webster and His Hainous Korus of Grotesk Syllables: How British English Became American English and the Main Differences


Noah Webster has a lot to answer for. A prolific American writer and editor, he was also dedicated to the reformation of English spelling. He compiled several dictionaries over his lifetime, including spellings that more closely matched how the words were pronounced instead of the traditional compositions. In most cases, he didn’t originate these revised spellings but he was responsible for popularising them and many of the “reformed” spellings gradually became standard throughout the United States, the reason we now have significant differences between British English and American English.

Without any academic study to back it up, I have often thought that Americans frequently do things simply to be different from the British and in reading up about Webster, I discovered this to be true in relation to his spelling changes. Yet again, we discover the US is the source of a bloody annoying and unnecessary set of circumstances.

Some of his revised spellings didn’t catch on. If they had, I beleev wimmin (and men) would be spewing forth a steddy and hainous korus of grotesk syllables from their tungs, creating a nightmar for the masheen I’m now typing on. (The Spell Checker is going to have a field day with that sentence.)

As much as I would clearly like to, we’re not going to be able to wind back the changes that did catch on. But what we writers and editors should do is make sure that when we edit, we pick one variation of English and stick to it. This will largely be guided by the location of the primary audience.

There are lots of differences between British English and American English, far too many to go into here. But here are a few highlights to help begin the process and ensure consistency. Continue reading


Poetry Spotlight on Bruce Dawe


Continuing on with the month of Mondays in May dedicated to poetry and poets, today’s subject is Bruce Dawe. As far as I’m concerned, Bruce Dawe is Australia’s greatest poet and making a statement like that could potentially spark heated debate given the other candidates: Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, Les Murray and several others.

The three Bruce Dawe books in my collection are This Side of Silence: Poems 1987-1990, Condolences of the Season: Selected Poems and Sometimes Gladness: Collected Poems 1957 to 1997. So I have a good selection of Bruce Dawe poems to showcase and demonstrate his genius. Continue reading

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman


There’s a tagline on the front cover of this book that says, “This is a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.” It could more accurately and easily have read, “This is a story of selfishness and how sometimes people don’t care what’s right if it gets in the way of their own happiness.” Continue reading

Australian English


Just a brief post today. For anyone who has been reading this blog, you may have noticed that although I sometimes use US English spellings (I was very careful to edit Enemies Closer to contain US English spellings to ensure it didn’t annoy any potential American readers), most of my posts adhere to the conventions of Australian English. Why? Well, because I’m Australia, of course! Continue reading