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Maryn
01-25-2006, 01:05 AM
The Kid just e-mailed me with a word question--luckily, I happen to be logged in at AW, home of the Incredible 50-Foot Word People from all over the world.

She is quoting a published academic source, both the author and the publisher in the UK. The source uses the word indispensible, which Word kicked out as misspelled. She checked her biggest print dictionary, plus dictionary.com, and found only indispensable.

Is this word spelled differently in the UK than in the US? Or did the author make a mistake his publisher failed to catch?

Maryn, thanking UK-ers in advance

Edit to add: Duh! I meant to post this in Writing Exercises, Prompts, and Games. Feel free to move it, moderators.

mdin
01-25-2006, 01:10 AM
Here's a small sample stolen shamelessly from another website:

centre center
cheque check
colour color
disc disk
grey gray
harbour harbor
honour honor
humour humor
labour labor
defence defense
programme program
theatre theater
valour valor

three seven
01-25-2006, 01:13 AM
It's indispensable.

Medievalist
01-25-2006, 01:26 AM
It's spelled correctly, and, since she's quoting, she should use the spelling from the source.

MSWord's spell checker, like any such, is riddled with errors, so she's smart to check.

Good unabridged dictionaries used to cite alternate spellings that are accepted; I notice that this is often not the case these days--for instance, neither AHD nor Websters cite alternate spellings for indispensible--and even the Really Huge OED doesn't do it properly.

*Sigh*

reph
01-25-2006, 02:37 AM
"Indispensable" is correct. She should write "indispensible [sic]."

Medievalist
01-25-2006, 02:43 AM
Reph the OED identifies it as Obs. rather than Arc. and I notice that indispensible is listed as an alternate in my 1982 Chambers.

veinglory
01-25-2006, 02:53 AM
I don't think dialect should be [sic]ed. That implies it is 'incorrect' when, in context, it is quite correct.

I quote and list references using the spelling they use so long as it is correct in the original context. I have found myself listed in Americanised form in some other papers, sometimes they even change the spelling of book and jounral titles which is blatantly unhelpful to anyone who might want to look up the original source.

If the target audience might mistake this for an error on the part of the student a small footnote might be in order.

Yeshanu
01-25-2006, 03:44 AM
Edit to add: Duh! I meant to post this in Writing Exercises, Prompts, and Games. Feel free to move it, moderators.

I think this is fine where it is, Maryn, and you're getting the answers you need, but if you still want it moved, PM me.

Ruth, who finally got a WP programme that allows for Canadian spellings...

TheIT
01-25-2006, 03:52 AM
I believe Word allows you to choose different languages for the spell check, though I haven't exercised the option. Under Tools->Language->Set Language, there's an option to choose different varieties of English (like US, UK, and Australia). Maybe it'll help.

veinglory
01-25-2006, 03:57 AM
In this case it isn't a straightforward UK/US thing, but indispensible is an archaic form still acceptable in most UK settings (e.g. still in the Cambridge dictionary but not in the UK MSword spellcheck)

Maryn
01-25-2006, 04:10 AM
Thanks to all who've replied. This is fascinating to me. Maybe I should just forget this novel hoopla and go back to school to get a degree in Linguistics...

Maryn, half serious (which, for her, is pretty good)

TheIT
01-25-2006, 04:13 AM
One of my favorite books is my British/American Travel Dictionary. It's amazing what innocent comments in the US are considered insults/vulgar in the UK (and vice versa).

What was the quote, something like "two countries separated by a common language"?

veinglory
01-25-2006, 04:24 AM
Having lived on three Englished speaking continents in six years I now seem to use the most inappropriate possible word every time. I get get confused just naming vegetables... [sigh]

poetinahat
01-25-2006, 04:37 AM
I get get confused just naming vegetables... [sigh]
Me too: mandarines, capsicum, beetroot, and rapeseed threw me for a while. (The latter is now 'canola', I'm told.)

I don't find MS Word's spellchecker helpful at all. It misleads as much as it guides. The grammar checker is worse.

veinglory
01-25-2006, 04:40 AM
I don't find MS Word's spellchecker helpful at all. It misleads as much as it guides. The grammar checker is worse.

Kumara, sweet potato, yam, whatever, [points] That! Just sell me that thing. What I call it is between the two of us.

Yeshanu
01-25-2006, 05:09 AM
I don't find MS Word's spellchecker helpful at all. It misleads as much as it guides. The grammar checker is worse.

I disabled the grammar checker. And the thing that automatically capitalized everything I didn't want capitalized.

veinglory
01-25-2006, 05:38 AM
I use the spellchecker to catch typos--the rest of it is a bit annoying.

Sage
01-25-2006, 05:46 AM
grey gray
I see this word spelled either way all the time, & I've found that my perception of how dark the grey is is based on whether an "e" is used or an "a" is used. In my WIP I used "grey" but Word kept telling me it was wrong, as did my friend who read it. I knew it was right, but I ended up changing it.

veinglory
01-25-2006, 05:55 AM
I hate to digress any further but I wonder, I see gray as dark and matt and grey as lighter and more slivery... how do youy see it?

Old Hack
01-25-2006, 03:01 PM
I hate to digress any further but I wonder, I see gray as dark and matt and grey as lighter and more slivery... how do youy see it?

Yep, I'm with you there. Grey is a light, sparkly, fairy sort of grey which can be rather nice, while gray is much flatter, sort of like heavy stormclouds, and very depressing. Incidentally, grey has a silvery sound for me (similar to the sound of a bit of gravel wedged in the brake-pad), while gray has no sound at all. Anyone else? Or should I just shut up now?

poetinahat
01-25-2006, 04:07 PM
Old Hack, you are Queen of the Simile. (As for smilies, that's still JAlpha.)

veinglory, that's always something I've thought, but never knew. Thanks for bringing it out!
Gray - dull, default, thud.
Grey - crisp, intended, snap.

MadScientistMatt
01-25-2006, 05:47 PM
Me too: mandarines, capsicum, beetroot, and rapeseed threw me for a while. (The latter is now 'canola', I'm told.)

Here some people grow beets for the leaves and leave the roots alone. Seems kind of strange, but dispite having grown up in the South I never picked up a taste for boiled greens or any other boiled leaf vegetable.

three seven
01-25-2006, 11:14 PM
"Indispensable" is correct. She should write "indispensible [sic]."Thank you Reph. Nice to know someone agrees with the Englishman's answer...

reph
01-25-2006, 11:57 PM
Webster's Second (unabridged, 1934, American) has "indispensible" below the line and labeled obsolete.

Being a U.S.-er, I use "gray."

Question: If you use "grey," do you write "a grey area" for something vague or hard to decide?

sassandgroove
01-26-2006, 12:01 AM
It's spelled correctly, yes.

Here's a small sample stolen shamelessly from another website:

centre center
cheque check
colour color
disc disk
grey gray
harbour harbor
honour honor
humour humor
labour labor
defence defense
programme program
theatre theater
valour valor

So Iw as spelling GREY correctly all this time, I was just in the WRONG country!! :hooray:

three seven
01-26-2006, 12:07 AM
Question: If you use "grey," do you write "a grey area" for something vague or hard to decide?Answer: Yes.

reph
01-26-2006, 03:06 AM
Then borderline cases are that light, cheerful, silvery color, not the thick, murky, storm-cloudish one.

Hmm. That seems wrong.

Sage
01-26-2006, 05:47 AM
I hate to digress any further but I wonder, I see gray as dark and matt and grey as lighter and more slivery... how do youy see it?Strangly, I see it as the opposite. Grey is darker to me, but I know that it's the vowel that makes me think that way. "e" is a darker vowel to me than "a," so I see "grey" as a darker color & "gray" as lighter.

veinglory
01-26-2006, 06:12 AM
ain't synesthesia fun