Wiktionary:Using UK/US spellings and vocabulary

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Policy discussion moved to Wiktionary:Spelling Variants in Entry Names - Draft Policy --Richardb 07:27, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

A policy development page has been created, where this discussion will now be focused. This material is now here, on this page, for archival purposes only. Please do not add further to this page. Go to the Policy Development page Wiktionary:Policy Think Tank on American or British Spelling and its associated discussion page--Richardb 08:43, 23 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 vocabulary would 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)
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)