Spelling with a c or an s (was Re: A College of Magics)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Aug 28 20:03:35 EDT 2003

widdy wrote:

>I think that, with some of these, there's a *pronunciation*
>difference that signals the spelling difference.

This is really difficult to explain, but I am now in a state of mind in
which I looked at "difference" there, spelt it "differense" and started to
wonder about "defence" and "defense".


In English english that's "defence"; in American english it's "defense"?
And in each language the other spelling doesn't really exist?

One might almost start to concede that Shaw had a point about spelling!

Or should that be consede it....

In fact, briefly contemplating your saying a bit earlier that the rule
about the split infinitive has been ditched because it's only from boring
old Latin and so no longer counts (a very rough paraphrase, please don't be
offended) I note that the only possible way to remember how to spell
supersede and consensus is to remember that they come from Latin, or else
simply to memorise the brutes.

(And about the infinitive: I would tend as I have just above this to repeat
the "to" part of it, rather than saying "to remember that they come from
Latin, or else simply memorise the brutes".  This is pedantic to a
distressing degree, but it does perhaps make it very marginally less
possible to mistake the meaning.  Robyn's comment that "fully understand"
is a compound verb is valid-maybe, but I would draw a distinction between
"to understand fully" and "fully to understand", on account of as how they
are not quite the same thing...)

And now I am wondering how one might use the word "memorice".  It would
have to be a noun, if memorise is a verb, in English english even if not in
American, I s'pose.

Which (phew) comes to an obDWJ.  A typo, this.  From someone's fungers
midding the key, we had "memorides" instead of "memorises".  To which DWJ,
cheerfully: the Memorides[1] are the three-old-crone goddesses in charge of
short-term memory, which is somewhere at the bottom of the handbag they
share between the three of them.

Something like that, anyhow.  Bars at conventions are a good place to have
a notebook for catching comments like that, but it also helps not to lose
the notebook later.

[1] she pronounced this mem-orry-dees (cf Hebrides, or Antipodes).  I doubt
very much that it comes from the Greek for anything, but if it is
pronounced otherwise I suspect the joke is lost.


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