Cheeseburger Gothic

A quick note on British/US spelling

Posted October 16, 2015 into The Dave by John Birmingham

A few of you have picked up on shifts between US and British spelling conventions. This will be a challange because different publishers previously sorted that out for me. I will probably go with the US spelling, simply because I sell more books there and it would save me a lot of extra work preparing additional manuscripts.

The question of ass and arse, however, is less problematic. The various characters will use which ever version is appropriate to their native dialect. That mostly means Emmeline will say arse and everyone else will say ass.

As I resolve the various queries, Google docs deletes the notes. But some I'm leaving there with my own replies to your questions. Eventually they'll go too, but I'll leave that until the last minute so you can see my reasoning for various decisions.

36 Responses to ‘A quick note on British/US spelling’

Sparty puts forth...

Posted October 16, 2015
think spelling differences matter less than expressions but then even if in Emma's half English , lives in States POV -might be better to tend towards the US expression if that's where the market is - on the otherhand Birmo readers are brighter than the average bear so can probably deal with that....

Respond to this comment

Chirurgean mutters...

Posted October 17, 2015
Shame that, but the costs of supporting 2 formats is probably too much. I can accept that for a book set in the US but it still irks me that though I can understand US english, they seem to be totally confused by British/Australian english. IMHO 'ass' seems a weaker swear word than arse! The phrase 'you ass' also has a different meaning from 'you arse'.I would however hate to see JB limit his droll phrases and words to pander to a US audience. After all, if they cannot understand a phrase, they can always Google it

Peter in the bleachers swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 17, 2015
You bet your arse! Ok, I am leaving now.

Respond to this thread

WA n'ker mumbles...

Posted October 17, 2015
Just as well you're not writing for Mills & Boon. You might have had to worry about whether Emmeline relaxes in one thong or two, or if her fanny is at the front or back.

Respond to this comment

insomniac reckons...

Posted October 17, 2015
tomato v tomato

NBlob reckons...

Posted October 17, 2015
Resigned contempt VS Global hegemony. No wait, I think I've got this wrong

Respond to this thread

Peter in the bleachers reckons...

Posted October 17, 2015
colour vs color

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted October 18, 2015
I am glad you mentioned this common spelling difference. The history
behind this difference is fascinating and reveals the truth behind many
differences between English and American spelling.

In the
European Middle Ages there were many professional guilds, one of them
being the Printer's Guild. After the advent of movable type, the
Printer's Guild splintered into different guilds for the purpose of
increasing their long term cumulative profits by fostering the use of
superfluous letters.

The "U" Guild is responsible for inserting
the letter "u" into words, which explains why those who follow English
spelling traditions spell armour, behaviour, colour, flavour, honour,
humour, labour, neighbour, rumour and splendour the way they do to this
day.

Some words the U Guild created are still used within both the English and American systems, e.g., guaranty, guardian, guacamole and guild.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted October 18, 2015
That is a fascinating historical footnote, PNB. It is interesting to trace the influence of this Guild in modern usages. Though the Guild was unsuccessful on the U.S. mainland, they did maintain a strong influence in Hawaii. As evidenced by the Union Jack which still adorns the Hawaiian flag and the plethora of the letter U in the native Hawaiian language. I believe the Guild was particularly proud of the word 'muumuu'.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted October 18, 2015
You do not give the Hawaiian branch of the Guild enough credit. At the height of their Polynesian influence, the accepted printed spelling of the word was "mu?uumu?uu" - adding two additional letters.

But let us not forget that there were twenty-eight Guild branches (promoting the excessive use of 26 letters and two punctuation marks ["!" and "?"]). The "A" Guild's successful promotion of the word "aardvark" is an achievement that should not be overlooked.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted October 18, 2015
I don't know about that 'A' guild. Slackers, I reckon. I've always thought it should have been aardvaark? But the Hawaiian branch of the 'U' guild, they are top drawer. Take the little Reef Trigger fish, or as the Hawaiians call it, the Humuhumunukunukuapua?a. That is some pretty serious adding extra letters.

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted October 18, 2015
I believe the ! Guild is having a modern day revival. Churr!!!

NBlob mutters...

Posted October 18, 2015
I believe PNB may suffer from undiagnosed mythomania.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted October 18, 2015
Is that what they call it these days?

Halwes asserts...

Posted October 19, 2015
Mr Boylan has indeed picked up on a little known historical turning point. First the free marketeers of the new world knocked over the poor old typesetters
and then proceeded to take the country to a minimum wage somewhere on par with Biafra.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted October 19, 2015
"Mythomania???" I am so tired of you people accusing me of suffering from mental illnesses that I can't pronounce. You think you're so smart because you know what a schizotypal personality disorder is and how to pronounce it. I've been trying unsuccessfully for years.

Quokka mumbles...

Posted October 19, 2015
I always had PNB down as a member of the FU guild.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 19, 2015
And fucking proud of it.

Respond to this thread

Halwes would have you know...

Posted October 19, 2015

Is Biafra still a thing?

Rob mumbles...

Posted October 19, 2015

He's more Jello than Biafra these days.

Respond to this thread

Lulu mutters...

Posted October 19, 2015
"This will be a challange"

ChallAnge?

Respond to this comment

Mei would have you know...

Posted October 19, 2015
Hi John,
This isn't related to this post but I would like to get in touch with you to ask for one massive, massive favour. My partner's 30th is coming up and 'He died with a falafel' is one of the books that defined his early to mid-20s. He loves quoting from it and always refers to it when talking about his experience with sharehouses. I was hoping that you could be kind enough to sign a copy with a personalised message.
Please consider this. I would be the best partner ever with a ziilion brownie points!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kindest regards, Mei

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 19, 2015
Sure, Mei. How do I contact you?

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted October 19, 2015
Lionel Richtie might help "is it Mei you're looking for?"

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 19, 2015
I'm sorry. Very sorry.

Mei mumbles...

Posted October 20, 2015
Hi John, thanks for responding! I'm so excited that I got a reply! My email is mah.lah (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you so much!
Lol @ NBlob. Not the first time I've heard that. ;-)

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 21, 2015
Hi Mei. I've sent you an email. I'll delete you comment here (with your addy) when you reply.

Respond to this thread

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 19, 2015
You may be very sorry but you are also very funny. I had to suppress the lols lest ms insomniac had questions.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted October 19, 2015
Thank you sleepy. I've been telling SWMBO & La Bobette for years that I'm hysterically funny. They seem resistant to the hypothesis. But now with your endorsement, I should be fine.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted October 19, 2015
I fear my judgement in these matters is no better than yours. I too get no acknowledgment of my brilliance.

Respond to this thread

Sparty mutters...

Posted October 20, 2015
Literal Hello
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pb7IevccSY

but not as good as
Total Eclipse of the heart
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsgWUq0fdKk

Respond to this comment

Frivolous would have you know...

Posted October 20, 2015
Hey, John.

I'm a fan of yours from and in the Philippines. Have most of your books in paper, including Axis of Time (the trilogy only), Dave vs the Monsters, and the Disappearance.

Hope you all are well.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 20, 2015
Hi Frivolous. Thanks for dropping by. Where abouts in the Philippines are you?

Frivolous has opinions thus...

Posted October 20, 2015
Hi again, John. I live in Metro Manila, the capital. The city of San Juan, to be more accurate.

I registered mostly just to express my appreciation for your writing your books. I'll probably comment again, though.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'A quick note on British/US spelling'

Follow along with RSS