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whs: Don't get me started. I could go on for hours about the difference between "loose" and "lose" which seems to be lost on the Internet. But, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling are ignored by so many forum posters that it just feels hopeless. I think the children coming up today will speak like this:
Lighthouse, I totally hope you are joking. :)
But in some way it is rude towards the people that are not familiar with this kind of language - especially for people of other native languages. This is really ashame. I think we can only constantly remind everyone to make themselves understood - else communication is pretty hopeless.
I am enjoying this discussion, though feeling slightly guilty about hijacking the thread.
whs, I feel that when speaking or writing you must know your audience. In other forums that I have been on, everyone is in the US so I know that I can use American slang and colloquialisms. Here on this forum we have such a wonderful international audience -- which I really like. Knowing that is my audience, I try to avoid using too much "American". I also check a poster's Location in their profile whenever possible. Even the use of British English versus American English is something I try to work on. I believe that in most countries where English is used as a second language British English is more common.
For those who are non-native English speakers I am always respectful. They speak at least 2 languages and I don't. Also, I am more forgiving of their English language errors. Those of us in the US and UK have less of an excuse for improper use of English.
Very good ScottW. Just one point I observed: The English spoken outside the native English countries is more influenced by the American interpretation rather than the English one. You will not find many people who spell "programmme" with mme. And then another point. Many people say that the internet destroys the culture regarding languages. Well, it is up to us to prove them wrong.
whs, your observation is interesting. I based my basic assumption about English use around the world on the influence of the old British Empire. So places such as India, Pakistan, and Hong Kong, among others, use a British English for the basics.
I also believe that the influence of American English is more prevalent in technology and academia. Thus program, being technology related, will be more likely to have an American spelling, but common words such as "colour" or "centre" are more likely to use the British spelling. Of course, I don't know for certain and would love to find a reliable source with the answers.
It has been my observation that non English speakers in Europe learn it from watching American films and TV series, whilst the rest of the world learn by listening to the BBC World service radio.
The words program and programme have 2 different meanings. I can programme a computer, and I can write programs
Lighthouse, that's an interesting observation. As the rest of the world gets more TV, will the language shift closer to American than British or will they all just watch BBC World News?
The dictionary I use, at bartleby.com, is the American Heritage Dictionary. It says programme is a "Chiefly British Variant of program". I would like to see what the Oxford English Dictionary says about programme, but I don't want to pay for a subscription.
Here's a British source, the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia, which says "Spell this word program when referring to computers or computing, and also in American English. Use programme for other senses such as 'television programme' or 'a programme of events'."
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