Words with more than one spelling

دوره: لغات انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / اپیزود 49

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Words with more than one spelling

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Do you get confused about which of two possible spellings to use? Are you unsure whether its dis c or dis k , sympathi s e or sympathi z e, learn t or learn ed ? Then join Finn and Catherine in 6 Minute Vocabulary for some useful tips!

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Catherine Hello! Welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me, Catherine.

Finn And me, Finn. And today we’re talking about words that have more than one spelling.

Catherine Let’s start by listening to Jack. He’s a professor of linguistics and he’s talking about changes in the English language.

Finn While you listen, think about this question: How do you think the word disc is usually spelt in British English?

INSERT Jack Today most of the influence on English spelling comes from North America. For example the words analogue, disc , enquire are spelt differently in American English. And these spellings are often used in British English too. And that’s generally all right by us. However, there are other spelling differences that we don ‘t think are correct in British English. For we Brits, it’s definitely wrong to spell colour or neighbour without the u . It ‘s also wrong to spell theatre in the American way.

Finn So we asked you: how is disc usually spelt in British English?

Catherine And the answer is that it’s usually spelt with a c , so d-i-s-c.

Finn But in American English, it’s spelt d-i-s-k. So two different spellings there, but it’s ok to spell disk with a k in British English when we’re talking about computers and computing. What other words were mentioned? Let ‘s have our first clip.

For example the words analogue, disc , enquire are spelt differently in American English.

Catherine So another computing term there: the word analogue , as in analogue clock, is spelt a-n-a-l-o-g-u-e in British English. But it ‘s spelt without the u-e in American English: so a-n-a-l-o-g .

Finn And there are a few more words with different spellings in American and British English. We’re not saying that one spelling is better than another…

Catherine … but it’s good to be aware of the differences. Now, the word enquire , meaning to ask about something, usually begins with the letter e in British English: e-n-q-u-i-r-e , whereas in American English it’s spelt with an i at the beginning, not an e. Did you notice the word spelt ? That ‘s the past participle of the verb spell .

Finn Yes, that’s s-p-e-l-t in British English. But in North America, they prefer spelled , s-p-e-l-l-e-d .

Catherine We’re happy with both nowadays. You can choose which to use. It’s the same for other verbs like learn , dream and burn . You can say learnt, burnt and dreamt with a t at the end or learned, burned and dreamed with e-d .

Finn And there’s a slight difference in pronunciation there too, isn’t there?

Yes, even in my best British accent you can hear the d and the t sounds at the end: burned , burnt . Learned , learnt .

Finn Now some words have two spellings - but it’s nothing to do with American influence. Listen to this clip.

INSERT CLIP 2 Jack And that’s generally all right by us.

Finn And there we heard all right . You can spell that as two words, all and right . Or you can spell it as one word: a-l-r-i-g-h-t .

Catherine It’s becoming quite common to see all right as two words, although some people still think that alright as one word is incorrect when writing.

Finn Other words with two spellings are barbecue , meaning cooking food outdoors, spelt b-a-r-b-e-C-u-e or b-a-r-b-e-Q-u-e .

Catherine And there’s also racket as in tennis racket. It ‘s almost always spelt r-a-c-k-e-t , but it can be spelt r-a-c-q-u-e-t as well. One more clip please.

INSERT 1 CLIP 3 Jack It’s definitely wrong to spell colour or neighbour without the u .

Finn So colour , spelt c-o-l-o-u-r is c-o-l-o-r in American English. American spelling drops the u in words with o-u in them.

Catherine And there are a lot of words that end in r-e in British English but e-r in American English, like theatre , centre and kilometre .

6 Minute Vocabulary from BBC Learning English.

Finn And right now it’s quiz time! Number one: Everybody knows that if you play with fire, you might get burnt. But what are the two possible ways to spell the past participle of the verb burn ?

Catherine They’re b-u-r-n-t and b-u-r-n-e-d .

Number two. How do we spell all right when it ‘s one word?

a-l-r-i-g-h-t .

Finn Number three: What’s the American English spelling of the word flavour ?

Catherine It’s f-l-a-v-o-r without the u .

Finn Well done if you got those all right. And before we go, here’s a vocabulary tip. If you use a computer to write in English, use a spellchecker, and make sure you set it to your preferred variety of English.

Catherine There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com.

Both Bye!

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