General Question

dreamer31's avatar

Why am I seeing the letter S in words that I was taught to spell with a Z?

Asked by dreamer31 (1932points) March 2nd, 2011
21 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Okay, maybe I am missing something. Is it Old English? Words that I was always taught to spell with a z are being spelled with an s, in newer books, on t.v., on Fluther…

ex:
realize—realise

civilization—civilisation
this is just a couple, there are more

Did I miss something and it has always been this way or is there just not a wrong or right way? I have always been intelligent but this makes me feel like I have been under a rock

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Answers

picante's avatar

It’s the British (and Canadian) spellings that you’re seeing.

janbb's avatar

I think both are acceptable variant spellings.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Austinlad's avatar

Somewhere in England, your doppleganger is asking the same question in reverse.

Jude's avatar

Picante is right.

gene116's avatar

Who do those Brits think they are? You’d think they invented the English language… ;)

cazzie's avatar

It’s not ‘old’ English… it’s English. I had the opportunity to learn both, and now, I must admit, that the ‘s’ has replaced the ‘z’ (and I now say ‘zed’ instead of ‘zee’) in my spelling, and the ‘u’ sneaks in when I write ‘colour’ and ‘neighbour’ etc… If you fancy yourself an English speaker, I think you should familiarise yourself with both. (see what I did there??? I wrote ‘familiarise’ with and ‘s’. hahaha)

auntydeb's avatar

I am one of thoze! English I am, and proud. We all live under the same blue sky, but our colour sense differs somewhat; civilisation gives us our computers and internet, but simple history makes us realise that language predates them. All the words previous here, that are English spelled, now have little red dots under them. Ha! I point and laugh at your little red dots Fluther, ‘tis my language and I love it!

cazzie's avatar

@auntydeb I laugh at your little red dots. ‘Tis not Fluther, but another. Change your settings on your computer, my dear aunty.

DominicX's avatar

Practise, programme, colour, favourite, civilise, etc.

Interestingly enough, in America we say “advertise” and “circumcise”, so not all of ours have been changed to “z”. Since I like the letter “z” much more than the overused letter “s”, I prefer the American spelling…

bolwerk's avatar

Google around for what Old English looks like. Unless you know a few Germanic languages or are an etymology expert, it’s a safe bet you won’t be able to read it.

Some American spelling was reformed in the 19th century by Webster to more closely resemble how words are actually pronounced. Of course, the spelling wasn’t radically reformed, and it would have been a good time to do that. Nobody says “I walked to the store.” Generally we say “walkt,” not “walk-ed,” and some of us are likely to say, “I walkt to thuh store.”

cubozoa's avatar

To quote George Bernard Shaw: “Two nations divided by a common language”.

wundayatta's avatar

I spent a year in public school in England, and when I came back, I was using S instead of zed. Sometimes I still forget, but spellcheck makes it hard to forget, these days.

cazzie's avatar

@wundayatta HEY! you said ‘zed’... LOL! Yea England!

gene116's avatar

I see not the dots of scarlet! Love you Aunty…

auntydeb's avatar

Why thank you @gene116 – I am flattered! And, of course, dear @cazzie now I realise-eyes-ize that t’red dots are those of the Fox of Fire. Why this strange and archaic sentence form? Why indeed, ‘tis fun see.

Do jellyfish evolve into Yodas?

perspicacious's avatar

The British use the s spelling. You can relax.

Strauss's avatar

It was sometime back before the days of cable, I was watching an interview with an English gentleman (I use the word specifically) who was highly educated. I realized that even though many of the words he used had vowel diphthongs, he somehow managed to pronounce each vowel.

auntydeb's avatar

@Yetanotheruser – that is a true gift, very few of our native Gentlemen can do it now! A chap called Brian Sewell is probably the poshest we have these days; vowels a-plenty, he sounds like the words actually taste of something!

cazzie's avatar

Certain things true English speakers need to fight for! -

It is NOT ‘alot’ but ‘a lot’.
Please learn to spell ‘tomorrow’ and ‘congratulations’. I die a little every time.
AND my own personal demon when I proof-read my work is ‘its’ and ‘it’s’. I hate myself for it.

I’m now adding this to my ‘likes’ in Facebook.
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

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