Monday, December 03, 2007

The Queen's English...Betrayed!

The Independent carries this anxious report on the future of English spelling outside England. We're guessing the queen won't be pleased:

The British media's rush to make a mark in Indian ink
For years, Indian newspapers and magazines were infatuated with their English counterparts. Now it is the Western press scrambling to get a foothold in the Indian market, says 'The Times of India''s Manu Joseph

In the largest fragment of the Commonwealth, the spelling of "colonise" has changed – to "colonize".

On 12 November, The Times of India took the first step towards breaking from a long tradition, with an official email instructing senior editors that all verbs ending with the British "ise" must now be changed to the American "ize". "That's the way forward," says Jaideep Bose, the executive editor of the paper, which has an average daily circulation of over 3.1 million.

"'Colour' has to be 'color'. 'Honour' has to be 'honor'. The world is moving towards American spelling. We are largely reading American books, American magazines. Indian children are taking American entrance exams. There is no good reason any more why we should stick to the British spelling."

This betrayal of the Queen's English endangers one of the only two enduring British traditions in India: spelling and keeping to the left of the road. Ironically, the change in spelling convention comes just as British media organisations are besieging the Indian market, seeking growth that is hard to find at home.

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