Alternative spellings

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Alternative spellings

Postby Audiendus » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:26 am

Below are some alternative spellings. For each pair, which one do you prefer?

In some cases, the older spelling (given first) has largely been replaced by the newer one; in other cases, the two forms co-exist. There may be differences between British and American usage.

mike (microphone)/mic
fair (market)/fayre*
fare (food)/fayre*
fount (typeface)(pronounced 'font')/font

*Archaic spelling, recently revived in UK

Does anyone have other examples of alternative spellings? Do you spell any words differently from the way you used to? Do you stubbornly cling to any obsolescent spellings?

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Re: Alternative spellings

Postby Slava » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:34 pm

barbecue/barbeque - I think I like the 1st, though both work for me.
doughnut/donut - definitely the 1st.
mike (microphone)/mic - despise the second.
fair (market)/fayre* - are the Brits going back to the olde days?
fare (food)/fayre* - I don't get why you'd make two different words indistinguishable.
fount (typeface)(pronounced 'font')/font - fount for a source of wisdom, aye, as a spelling for typeface, no thank you.

As for other alternatives, there are so many one could probably compile an entire dictionary. The superfluous "u" in words like color and honor, the spare "i" in aluminum, the "u" in mold. This last one I'd like to see come into use as the spelling for the growth, with the non-u version used for the one related to shape.

Many others come to mind, but I'll stop now.
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Re: Alternative spellings

Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:20 am

barbecue/barbeque - I like the second; it is nicely abbreviated bbq
doughnut/donut - the former
mike (microphone)/mic - the former
fair (market)/fayre* - the former; the latter is ok in contexts in which one would also use "ye" and "olde"
fare (food)/fayre* - Have I seen the latter? May in the same context as "ye" and "olde"
fount (typeface)(pronounced 'font')/font - I don't think I have encountered the former.

How about "theater/theatre"? Google turns up 1,480,000,000pages with the former and 1,550,000,000 pages with the latter. I don't know how the dictionary look-up on this site ranks links to other dictionaries, but main-line dictionaries (Merriam-Webster, Oxford. American Heritage and Collins) are the 6th to 8th links for "theater" and 1st to 4th for "theatre." But clicking through on the "-re" spelling gets you to a page giving the "er" spelling and listing "re" as a variant.

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Re: Alternative spellings

Postby brogine » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:44 am

I’ve always thought ‘theatre’ to be British, while ‘theater’ is American. That certainly accords with similar variances. The former is frequently adopted here by people putting on airs. It’s an apt area of discourse. They will probably also pronounce ‘futile’, ‘agile’, etc. with the posh UK long i. Interesting that so many people miss truly posh correct pronunciations. I’m thinking of ‘exquisite’ and ‘inextricable’ in particular just now.

In for a penny . . . I might add that I’m pretty sure ‘barbeque’ is a ‘back-formation’ from ‘BBQ’, part of the name of many rib joints.

There’s a song in ‘Babes in Arms’ ( ... air-lyrics) which riffs on several meanings of ‘fair’ and ‘fare’. Great show!

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