Saturday, March 27, 2010

Failing to See the Humour

So, I went and done did it, and I appalled at least two upstanding Canadians who happen by here. Uh huh, I spelled "humour" as "humor", thus going against my many years of formal education and aghasting good Canucks everywhere.

My reasoning: lately, every time I wrote "humour" or "honour" or what have you, I have not been pleased with myself. Because there is no reason to write it that way, when we can simply do as the Americans and write "humor", Your Honor. You see, Your Honor, we don't say the "u" anymore — haven't for a long time as a matter of fact. Try it. Say the word "our" or "hour" and then say "humour" or "honour" in the same way. See, we don't say it that way.

I'll have you know that I think I am being very Canadian by making the switch. A long time ago, when we were largely populated by expat Yankee Doodle Dandies, our school children were taught the American way. It was only later changed by fiat, as it were, to keep us more British — stiff upper lip and all that.

Pish tosh, say I. I'm taking Canadian English back. I may even drop those silly "re" endings. I mean to say, do we go to the "theatre" or "theater", I ask you. One thing I will keep is the doubling of consonants as in "traveller" rather than" traveler". I take that stand because my understanding is that if you don't double the consonant, then you should pronounce the preceding vowel as long and not short. And who ever heard of a "traveeler"?

So, that's my rationale. Although it's common sense to me, it was still a tough decision to make. But I figure that our national identity shouldn't hinge on archaic spelling (note the two ll's — pretty sure even American spell it that way).

19 comments:

Queenmothermamaw said...

Absolutely, positively an honor,er honour, er however and love your humor, er humour, whatever. Whenever I spell it with the u I get a red line under the word. I guess my PC is American English. LOL You are a hoot and a holler, as we Ky knobers say. Oops got a red line under knobers and knobbers. Whatever. We understand each other. That is what counts, good buddy.
QMM

Anvilcloud said...

Thanks QMM. I try to keep on the light side of things most of the time. Blogger and Google definitely want me to spell the American way too. :)

Mara said...

Since my computer is set to Dutch settings, it gives both humour and humor as wrong! But, if I had to choose (and since I've been taught the English way), I will stick to humour, your honour!

The only reason the Americans started leaving the u out of words, because there was a lack of u's in general literature at some time, it being used so much (The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde explains all)...

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

You know that Robert E. Lee's horse was named "Traveler," with one "l" in there. Obviously, not a Canadian horsie.

I like both spellings of color and colour, etc. When I do transcribing, it's by KEYSTROKE, so I have a special fondness for the British spellings.

Diana said...

Personally I don't care which way it's spelled as long as I can read it! Love Di ♥

Amanda said...

Well, being Scottish we do have a few words and language of our own!!

Lorna said...

I love it that one of the readers quoted Jasper Fforde!

fumblingforwords said...

And my reason for sticking with "humour" is that in far too many things we acquiesce (did I spell that right?) to the American way of doing things, and I'm a little bit stubborn about hanging onto some of our differences. :-)

Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Mary G said...

I went to some ocnsiderable trouble to load a Canadian dictionary into my word processing program and into Google. Besides, my fingers put in the 'u' on autopilot. But I have no trouble with how the Yanks do it - except for 'metre'. A meter is something on the hydo line, in my mind.

Anvilcloud said...

H: This has nothing to do with imitating Americans. It's about embracing sensibility.

MG: I do have Canadian spelling checked in Word. Hounestly. :)

Ginnie said...

I don't care how you spell the words...just keep them coming !

simplycol said...

I so understand this post and struggle with the same dilemma every time I go to type a "our" word. I admit that I have always been a stanch supporter of adding the u... but lately I too have done just the opposite, especially with some words, that like you, I just feel don't look right... humour (humor) being one of them. Neighbour (neighbor) being another. I must say I am feeling a great surge of relief knowing that I am not alone in this. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

Coll: That makes two of us at least. A ground swell begins. :)

Donna said...

Oh,the Shame of it!!!Hahahaa...
You know, I learned a long time ago, that it just doesn't matter What other people think about the way you do things...Only thing that matters are the people that love you warts and all and stand beside you in a storm...period.
I love your words and do Not care How they end up being spelled...just keep 'em coming...
hughugs

Barry said...

My head can make the switch, Anvil, but my typing fingers have been too indoctrinated and insist on inserting those "u's" and spelling with the "re" ending.

Sigh.

Pearl said...

a lot is a matter of what you have dreamt or learnt and other things what you have been exposed to therefore biased to ahve dreamed and learned differently.

Doris said...

I love this post! I agree completely and couldn't have said it better!

Murr Brewster said...

But this is English, man. If you're going to spell things in a way that makes sense phonetically, you'll have to come up with some staid mother tongue unsullied by Romans, Picts, Angles, Saxons, Germans, French, and random elves. I think it's a gloury.

Anvilcloud said...

It's true. English is not a phonetically language. It's nuts, I tell ya.