Musings

What’s up with ‘u’

In case you didn’t know, I’m Canadian. Reading some of my past posts, you might have guessed — or I might have mentioned. What does that have to do with ‘u’?

Some random person in a toque

I made the decision early on to write in Canadian English. So what does this mean in practice? Well, I write flavour instead of flavor and travelled instead of traveled (in keeping with the English) but realize instead of realise (in keeping with the Americans). Throw in a few Canadianisms like give’er, skookum and toque, and it’s really a hodge podge. 

So if you notice flavour and colour mixed with realize and civilize, it’s not a typo. It’s that I’m a Canuck.

Why did I choose to write in Canadian English? There are a few reasons.

I’m lazy

Canadian English flows more naturally for me. Even if I did a find and replace for our, I’m sure I’d miss some. And I’d certainly miss some of the Canadianisms — I try not to put any in, but there are words I don’t realize are Canadian slang. Who knew hooped was a Canadianism (not exclusively but primarily)…it means borked, fubar, we’re up some kinda creek without a paddle. 

I love language

I love it so much I’ve been listening to the History of English podcast. It goes all the way back to the roots of the Indo-European language group, and there’ve been a few aha moments already. Like cancer and canker come from the same root; it just travelled different routes into English. Fascinating…okay, I know some people will say ‘I don’t think that word means what you think it means’.

I know not everyone agrees, but I love the quirks and foibles of English. It’s a living language and that shows in its diversity. 

I write ‘American’ every day

The most obvious alternative would be to write in American English…that’s the largest market for English books. But I write product help for a global audience in my day job. Which means I write in American English every day. 

Hopefully, my language quirks don’t bump you out of the story too much. And forgive me if a random keener, mickey, or runner reference slips through. 

One thought on “What’s up with ‘u’”

  1. As an Australian we mostly use the ‘English’ though I do notice a lot of the American spelling seems to be taking over now in our education system, our younger generations are being taught that way and try as I may to teach my grandchildren to spell correctly they won’t have it. Sad to see

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