Monday, 16 November 2009

Selling oneself

Last Tuesday’s online conference with my fellow students and tutor for the Professional Contexts course was, to put it mildly, entertaining. The workload had been turned up and passions and frustrations were running high – especially when someone asked why we Brits should use US spellings.

The answer was that the marketplace is much bigger over there. But why should we rearrange our language just to suit them? Why not the other way around?

There were two students who bitterly resented US spellings (e.g. travelling becomes traveling, centre becomes center and cheque becomes check, which is ludicrous). The other students accepted that we should, well, accept it.

I said, “So it’s down to pride or money.”

If I had dared to make the discussion actually boil instead of simmer, I might have suggested that in bowing to the US market, with its passion for simplistic spellings, we Brits are becoming “literary whores”. It seems to be about selling our national pride.

“No. It’s about selling your book,” my current wife said.

Oh, well, when you put it like that...

1 comment:

  1. Well, Graham I agree that whoring myself to the Americans is just what I'll do if it sells a book that could just as effectivly been written with an American voice. But I'll defend British spelling to the last verb if the book needs to be written with a British accent; most literate US citizens aren't as stupid is publishers would like to believe.

    –Your 'current wife'? Are you planning on getting another?

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