I have found this difference in language one of the most frustrating aspects of living in the U.S as an Australian – not sure half the time if I have lost my ability to spell. The use of z or s is particularly confusing.
The intro to this info graphic seems to sensationalize … Simple changes that affect the meaning, pronunciation, and use of words?
None of the changes listed – while annoying if one has to switch as Christinesine notes – cause serious comprehension problems (once one has facility with English).
The spelling difference I found most confusing was gaol … It took me a while to realize what this was when I started reading British mystery stories in my teens/early twenties.
I’m South African born and raised, now living in Canada (which seems to jump from the British to the American spelling ad hoc) – so yes, I understand what you’re going through!
And English is not my mother tongue either, just to make things a tad worse…
I was really not exposed to UK spelling until I went to college. Was confused at first because I did not really know what the spelling differences were all about. For years I thought Theatre was where plays and musicals were performed and theaters was where movies were shown.
I’ve read that in the (not too) distant future (according to linguists and drift), we will have difficulty speaking with other English speaking countries. With the Internet, I don’t see it, though. I do think gaol to be fascinating as well.
Are there any English speaking countries trying to keep the language regulated, as the French (and to a degree, Quebecois) are doing?
I’m a born and raised Canadian and have struggled with the proper spelling of some words my whole life because of the inconsistency up here! Not only do writers swap back and forth, but products made in the USA or for the USA/CANADA often have alternate spelling. The worst is that we share the same software and spelling correction programs which normally try to correct away from our ‘English” spelling to the US version.
And then there’s ‘alternate’ and ‘alternative’. 😉
My favorite difference: aluminum vs. aluminium. That one extra “i” completely changes the pronunciation and makes it sound like an alien metal.