AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #mm #guestpost @AFHenley 5


AF HenleyTS

In Honour of the U

 

Few things piss me off as quickly as hearing someone tell me that it doesn’t matter where my story is set, and that it apr1doesn’t matter that I’m a Canadian author, all written English should be in U.S. format.

 

I am here to tell you all that I disagree. Strongly.

 

Now, I have been blessed working with LT3. They will happily accept a Canadian novel, set in Canada or with a Canadian MC that is written in British—or, for the purists, Canadian—English. (See: Honour and Second Star to the Right) But I see a whole heck of a lot of publishers who are pretty adamant about the, “the only good English is American English” mindset. I don’t understand this. It quite literally baffles me. So, I’ve decided to investigate it by throwing out the comments/arguments that I’ve heard over the subject and seeing what bounces back at me.

 

Are you in? Cool… let’s do it.

 

  1. But American English is the industry standard.

 

For whom? Oddly enough when I do a Google search and type in American English vs… guess what comes up? Standard English. American English vs. Standard English. Does that mean that American English, if it is versus something, is not actually the thing in which it is, uh, well… versus-ing?

 

Yes. That’s exactly what it means.

 

According to “The Development of Standard English” by Cambridge University Press, Standard English refers to whatever form of the English language is accepted as a national norm in any English-speaking country. In Scotland, it’s Scottish English. In Australia, it’s Australian English. In Canada, it’s Canadian English, in the U.K., it’s British English and so on and so on. In fact, there is no official or central regulating body that defines “Standard” English.

 

  1. But American English is spoken worldwide.

 

English is spoken almost worldwide. But for accents, region-specific words and slangs, there is no discernible difference between the spoken versions of English.

 

However, I feel the need to point out that most non-U.S. countries favour the original, aka British, variations of English spelling.

 

  1. But the Chicago Manual of Style…

 

Was written by the University of Chicago Press as a manual for writing style with respect to American English. In the United States. Therefore, any point said following this statement is moot for the rest of the world.

 

  1. Okay, but it’s silly to put all those redundant “U”s in words. And what’s with the “C”s where “S”s should be?

 

Possibly silly, nevertheless correct.

 

See, here’s the thing… “we” didn’t put them “in.” They were always there. Noah Webster, Jr. (1758 – 1843), an apr2American lexicographer and textbook pioneer (Wiki’s term, not mine), in an attempt to wrestle control away from the British ruling class, set about creating three books to be used in schooling Americans on writing and reading: one for spelling, one on reading, and one on grammar. His first, the spelling book, became the standard text book from which American teachers taught for over a century, and as it was reprinted and reissued, Webster began to subtly refine words, spelling them according to how they sound.

 

Take for example the word “defence,” which Webster altered to “defense” in support of the “ssss” sound at the end of it. Theatre and centre were simplified into theater and center (but not senter?). Sulphur became sulfur (but telephone didn’t become telefone? Ah… right… Scottish-born and Canadian-lived that inventor was). Plough became plow, axe became ax, catalogue became catalog, and flavour, honour, savour, saviour, candour, behaviour, colour, armour, demeanour, glamour, harbour and all the rest lost their u. Luckily, or unluckily as you may see fit, and although Webster argued in favour of the change, tongue didn’t become tung.

 

American English dropped the proper spelling and went with something else. Something simpler.

 

  1. Due to the country’s size and wealth, Americans are the largest consumers and, as such, they are the ones that should be catered to.

 

I can’t speak for everyone, and I don’t get a breakdown from LT3 on what countries my purchases are made from, but I will leave you with this image of visitors by country for my website so far in 2016. There’s an awful lot of flags here…

 

apr3

So, what do you think? Are you all for the standardization of using American English solely, or do you not mind the Us and the Cs and the hyphens?

 

Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

 

AF Henley <3

 

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and apr4the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love- my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

 

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since. Henley’s newest release, Wolf, WY hit the market on October 21st and is now available at your favourite online book retailer. Check it out on Amazon, or directly through LT3 Press. Wolf, en Garde, the second novel in the Wolf series will be released on May 18, 2016 and is now available for pre-order at a special pre-release savings of 15% off.

 

For more information, please stop by for a visit at www.afhenley.com

 


5 thoughts on “AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #mm #guestpost @AFHenley

  • Jack Frost

    As an American. I don’t care. Do as you please. xD True there were words I had never seen spelt a certain way when I started reading but that just gave me a chance to learn.

    I also learned that mailboxes work differently in certain parts of the world than in America. And even in some American cities, which has nothing to do with grammar and spelling admittedly but I point this out because it honestly shocked me for a whole ten seconds when I read Wolf, W.Y. Everywhere I lived the red flag meant there was mail going out, not that I’d received mail. xD Quick google later and I knew more about mailboxes than ever before. Including the legal requirements.

    I will say this, because I’ve been subjected to American spelling and education my whole life, my preferences will always lean toward American spelling. By the same argument, I always expect an author from somewhere else to speak and write like they’re from someplace else.

  • Lavender Wynter

    If it wasn’t for the “American English” setting in my Microsoft Office, my typing would look like a merge between what is established as British English and American English (which, by the way, only makes my puncutation marks even more confusing because I utitlize both and consequently put my English grades around Cs and Ds because I kept accidentally using the British set in an American school… XD). The little island of Penang was colonized by the British, as were a lot of places in southeast and south Asia, so for the first 6 years of my English schooling, I was in the British system. For the following 6, I was in the American system.

    So… being a third culture kid, I don’t give a flying ka-hoot about what the Americans think about which version of English should be used just like I don’t give a darned knick-nack how much easier it is, supposedly, to learn simplified Chinese over traditional Chinese.

    My personal feeling is this: Wanting to standardize something like language and overriding others is just another way to take away freedom of expression, and I think there’s too much to be expressed in this world for that to be kosher. If it variances in a language exists, use them.

    And just for the record, a snapshot of those flags in 2015 would’ve put “Taiwan” on the list, because I know for a fact I visited while I was back in my birth country last year. =P

    Thank you for sharing! And Keep your Canadian Vocabulary! I appreciate your books for them! Cheers. <3

  • Witchy

    I never realized there were publishers out there so adamant about the use of American English. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. Personally, I use American English to write my stories (even though, coming from Poland I was taught British English in school), so it wouldn’t have any effect on me trying to publish my books. However, I think that if a publisher is willing to accept manuscripts from writers who are not American/don’t live in America, they should be prepared to accept them in whatever English the author wrote them in. If they want to create a version for the American public, they should discuss it with the writer. If I’m not mistaken, the language in the Harry Potter books has been altered in order to sell it in America, because the difference between British English and American English is big enough they felt the need to do it.

    As for the language itself, I think there is plenty of room for all version of English, German, Spanish, or whatever other language has more than one variation. Languages develop naturally. That’s why the British, the Canadians, the Americans, and the Australians will have their own way of speaking and writing. Same goes for Germans, Austrians, and the Swiss, even though they all speak German, the language varies from one country to the next.

    So, while British English came first, American English has just as much right to exist as any other form of English. I just wish people understood that and respected other people’s rights and opinions.

  • Crystal's Many Reviewers Post author

    I don’t really understand why there is so much pressure for American English to be in books. For me it doesn’t make sense if the book is set in Canada or even the UK to be written in that “language” (And yes, I totally just used language for this!)

    What really drives me bonkers personally is when I’m reading a book that is set somewhere in a different country, and the whole story is told in American English. It doesn’t make sense to me…

  • Raphael

    Personally, I love the ”u” in British English and I am somewhat afraid that someday it may be entirely gone. It adds some extra style and, yes, romance to the language. For me it feels that taking it away makes the language more cold and functional.

    Witchy has a wonderful argument here about German language. There are at least three different forms of it and no one would even begin to think to make ”their” German the only true one. And why would anyone want to? To what end?

    Publishers should respect the individual English ”version” of the respective author. And give their readers intelligence more credit! I find it somewhat insulting if they think we would not understand authors anymore if they use their local English which they grew up with and which is their heritage after all!

    On the contrary! It brings so much more life and diversity to a language! Telling them that American English is the standard is denying other cultures.

    <3

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