Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I love this country but sometimes.....

For the most part, I love living in the UK. Actually for the 99.9% part, I love living in the UK. There is only one thing that drives me crazy. There are very few moments when the cultural differences between the English and the Americans actually gets in the way of having fun. It usually revolves around words and the way they are pronounced. Like when I say, "I'm eating tomato soup" and someone says, "oh, tomato soup". Ok that doesn't really translate on print, but maybe you get the point.

One word in which I've had trouble saying the English way is aluminum. And that's because it's not eve spelled the same. You see there is a history to the word in which I will inform you of now by way of the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Aluminum
1812, coined by Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), from L. alumen "alum" (see alum). Davy originally called it alumium (1808), then amended this to aluminum, which remains the U.S. word, but British editors in 1812 further amended it to aluminium, the modern preferred British form, to better harmonize with other element names (sodium, potassium, etc.).
"Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound." ["Quarterly Review," 1812]

So there you go. There is no "right" way. There is the American way and the snotty British way.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like all people are this concerned about how different we are from each other. It's mainly a few people at work....ok, one person at work.

3 comments:

IngridNation said...

Yeah, we say things differently, and spell some differently too. I'm not sure why British people feel the need to correct you on this though. Whatever does it matter? I'd hate to think that everyone would correct me if I visited the US... Variety is good.

Julie Ferreira said...

That's funny. I don't think I would ever be able to say the word 'schedule' the British way (like 'shedule'), at least not with a straight face!

IngridNation said...

@Julia I'd say it phoenetically 'sked-yule' and I'm British. Interesting...