Category Archives: Spelling

“Colour”

Wandering the aisles of a local store, I encountered this product:

colour“Colour,” of course, is the British spelling; in America–where the Farberware company has been situated since 1900–it’s “color.”

Oh come on, Google

I have no idea why Google adopted British spelling in this notification, instead of the American “customization.”

At least Wikipedia has the excuse of being an international operation (and has established the precedent of using logical punctuation).

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More on “spoilt”

Via Twitter:

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The store is in New York. Once again running the risk of stating the obvious, the American spelling is “spoiled.”

Spotted on a Philadelphia Parking Authority kiosk

kisok

By the way, when I first paid for my parking, I didn’t have time to take the picture. So I invested another fifty cents, in the name of science. At least it’s tax-deductible.

Someone Was Probably Just Trying to Be Humourous

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I guess Fleetwood Mac started it all when they didn’t call their album “Rumors.”

“Yoghurt”

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I recently became aware of the product featured above. The thing that struck me as odd (as I believe it would most Americans) is the unusual spelling of what we know as yogurt. I suspected it was a Britishism because of Alan Rickman. To be more precise, there’s a scene in the movie “Love, Actually” in which Rickman is trying to buy some jewelry for a woman not his wife, and the sales clerk (played by Rowan Atkinson) won’t let him just get on with it. Rickman finally says in exasperation: “Dip it in yogurt, cover it with chocolate buttons!” He pronounces yogurt with a short in the first syllable–that is, to rhyme with hog–and that’s consistent with the yoghurt spelling.

(If you want to hear Rickman say this line, check out this hilarious YouTube mashup:


)

According to the OED, up until the mid-twentieth century, various spellings for the word (derived from Turkish) abounded, including yoghurd, yogourt,yahourt, yaghourt, yogurd, yoghourt, yooghort, and yughard. Subsequently, according to this Google Ngram chart, yogurt (red line) has prevailed in the U.S., and has roughly tied in the U.K. with yoghurt (yellow and green lines).

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Google Ngrams only goes up till 2008, and when more recent data come in, I’m sure that as a result of companies like the Minnesota-based Mountain High, U.S. yoghurt (blue line) will be on the upswing.

So what’s up with the “u”?

According, to Wikipedia, the athletic clothing company Under Armour was started in 1996 by “Kevin Plank, a 23-year old former University of Maryland special teams captain for the university American football team. Plank began the business from his grandmother’s basement in Washington, D.C.”