Wiktionary:Policy Think Tank on American or British Spelling/discussion archive

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Policy discussion moved to Wiktionary:Spelling Variants in Entry Names - Draft Policy--Richardb 07:39, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Archive of Previous discussions on this topic[edit]

Mainlyfrom Beer Parlour, in no particular order.

American English Spelling (22/May/2005)[edit]

It would be useful to have a convention on spelling with regard to American and British English (and others). There seems to have been some discussion before (color/colour). The current situation is annoys me. Why don't we simply vote on this and see what the majority wants? Ncik 29 Apr 2005

Here's an idea: Whichever one is first in the alphabet is the one that has the main entry, and the other gets an American/British form of word --Wonderfool 14:32, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I agree. That's what I decided to do on la: when making the article for sulfur. (I also made the title show both variants, but that's not so easy on en:) —Muke Tever 23:53, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Aha, this is interesting, as it almost always puts the American spelling first ("-or" comes before "-our", "-er" comes before "-re" and "f" comes before "-ph-"; about the only spelling difference in which the UK English spelling comes first is "-ence"/"-ense" – "-ise"/"-ize" doesn't really count as UK spelling uses both of these). But that's more of an observation than an objection.
I'm still in favour of the idea of having the dual "color/colour" pages, with redirects from "color" and "colour" to this page. The words can be listed in alphabetical order on the dual page. Special cases such as "gray" (scientific unit spelled this way universally) can be catered for by a note in the entry, along the lines of:
3. (always spelled gray) A scientific unit.
Maybe it's time to reopen this discussion, have a(nother) vote on it and then implement it. Nothing has been done. This issue isn't going to go away and lie down quietly. — Paul G 10:38, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't know why but Wonderfool's proposal seems awkward to me. Maybe because I suppose one expects either British or American spelling, and that it wouldn't be easy to find out what the underlying rule is (probably more likely is that one wouldn't even suspect that a rule exists). Paul G should note that this is not only about entries (which are actually a minor problem since we provide information on alternative spellings) but mainly about stuff in other namespaces (e.g Category). Ncik 06 May 2005

There is only one solution: as there is only one true English language, we should follow those rules. That of course is British English. Why would we want to list a word under its American misspelling? I do not see the logic in doing that. --Zippanova 00:16, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Hooray for NPOV! --Wytukaze 01:07, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
The only true English, as everyone knows, is Anglo-Saxon. The English wiktionary should contain only true Anglo-Saxon words, with new wiktionaries created for each of the 'impure' English derivatives. --HappyDog 18:16, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
  • The thing with these United States English/Commonwealth English differences, especially as far as Wiktionary is concerned, is that the words aren't the same. The usages are different and asymmetric (A recent example: United States English uses both theatre and theater, Commonwealth English uses almost solely theatre, albeit with theater creeping in due to U.S. cultural influences.), the meanings are sometimes different, and the etymologies and citations are certainly different (Many of the United States English words in such cases are coinages of Noah Webster.). Having two different, non-identical, articles is often exactly the right thing to have, because it reflects reality. Uncle G 23:38, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
  • The decision whether to have (say) Category:English colours or Category:English colors is an entirely different one, driven by different considerations. Unfortunately, the MediaWiki software doesn't allow one to redirect to the other, which would be the best solution. Uncle G 23:38, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
If we propagate the categories with templates, both can be populated concurrently. E.g. {{colour}} defined as "{{color}}" and {{color}} defined as "[[category:color]][[category:colour]]". That way, whichever template you use would propagate both. There has been significant resistance to templating categories in the past however. --Connel MacKenzie 03:55, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Using UK/US spellings and vocabulary[edit]

Is there an official Wiktionary policy on favouring (or favoring) UK or US spellings and vocabulary in headwords and definitions? If Wiktionary were a "British" dictionary (I put British in quotation marks because Wiktionary has no geographical location) then we might have a page for, say, "humour" with full treatment of the word, and another for "humor" that was merely a cross-reference to "humour". Similarly, British spellings and vocabularywould be used in definitions (eg, "shop" rather than "store" in the definition of "grocer's", "stationer's", etc).

At the moment, because some contributors are British, some are American and some were taught English by British-English-speakers and some by American-English-speakers, inevitably they add pages for spellings and words in their own language, sometimes with and sometimes without cross-references to spellings used in the other country (and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, of course).

I think there is little point in duplicating entire pages for the sake of deleting or adding a 'u' ("humo(u)r"), so would suggest we have what I have described above (one full page for one spelling and another with just a cross-reference). But which would be the "default" version of English? Being British, I am biased towards British English, of course.

It could be said that it doesn't matter which page gets the full treatment, so we might have "humour" and "color" in full and "humor" and "colour" as the cross-references, but my feeling is that Wiktionary should be consistent. This is a bigger issue when it comes to differences in vocabulary - for example, a non-native speaker might have to visit "drugstore" if this is the definition given for "pharmacy" where they might otherwise have understood an equivalent definition ("a chemist's shop") written in British English.

This could get contentious, of course, and I have no desire to start a transatlantic flame or edit war. What do other Wiktionarians think, both about whether this is a problem or not and, if it is, how it might be solved? -- Paul G 12:15, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Did this ever get solved? I'm still avoiding adding definitions that differ in American and British English.
At the moment the solution is: if you see it added one way, you can always add a page that redirects with the other form. That way you'll always get to a page with the definition on. But as Paul said, it lacks consistency. Then again so do a lot of things on Wiktionary at the moment. What I'm finding more difficult is making the definitions themselves "international", because each definition is going to be written one way or the other. Some longer entries lack any consistency, since an American may have added them, then a British person edited them, and so on.
I think a standard would be nice, but who would decide on it? I want to know what people think too, or at least how we should handle this (or tell me if it's been sorted already). --Rob 17:49, 29 May 2004 (UTC)
It would be good to have a policy on this. It's probably worth point out that this is not a UK/U.S. thing but really a International English/U.S. thing. —Christiaan 20:40, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Not so. Most of Asia, and much of Eastern Europe, uses U.S. spelling. —Brian 01:44, 11 Oct 2005 (UTC)
Apparently, this flamewar has moved to Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Color/colour and Wiktionary:Requests for deletion#November 2004. --Connel MacKenzie 21:56, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Does anyone know of a similar discussion for Wikipedia? I have a suggestion to make (which doesn't really tackle the wiktionary issue). --Splidje 11:39, 7 December 2005 (UTC)