Monday, March 15, 2010

Canadian Spelling: Did you know?

In Canada, when do you use practice and when do you use practise? Or how about licence vs. license? Apparently (according to Wikipedia - I know, trusty source) :), practice is a noun and practise is a verb. Licence is a noun and license is a verb. Actually, this seems to be the case in most countries except the United States. In the US, though, they accept both spellings for licence / license as a verb but for practice / practise, they only accept the 'c' version as a noun or a verb. The chart on Wikipedia is actually pretty useful.

And, in Canada, we use colour, manoeuvre, grey (as opposed to gray), catalogue, organization (instead of organisation), theatre, travelling / travelled, yogout / yogurt / yoghourt (yes, all three are correct), instalment, labour, cancelled, defence (instead of defense), and cheque (for money cheques instead of check). Canadian spelling is a combination of British and American spelling for the most part, with the tendency leaning towards the British spelling.

According to a UVic English site, Canadians tend to be 'fair trade' with regards to spelling and there are very few words we feel absolutely must be spelled the Canadian way (which often is the British way). The word noted that Canadians are particularly concerned about was 'metre', which incidentally is a French word. We tend to use 'ise' instead of 'ize'. And a quote from this site: "There is, however, no absolute rule about Canadian spelling. The main thing is to be consistent with whatever you choose."


Anonymous said...

"Gray" always bugs me - I can't read it without hearing that particular accent that is strongly associated with derision of education. Grey-eyed Athene has the softer sound, the sound of grey fog.

patti said...

Yeah, 'gray' just looks harsh. I like that 'the sound of grey fog'.