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Speaking of purists...

Posted by TheFallen on June 03, 2003

In Reply to: -ise/-ize posted by Curly on June 03, 2003

: Etymology can be interesting...
: In words where the ending -ize actually means 'give the characteristic of', 'render', 'turn into' (e.g. harmonize = provide harmony; hospitalize= place someone in hospital), the ending is 'originally' Greek. -ize should be the only option. However, there is a 'purist' trend in the UK to consider the -ize an Americanism, and hence -ise is used, which is borrowed from ... the French.
: Shakespeare used -ize, why not we?
: Please note that this 'schism' can play tricks on meaning; just analyse "analize", as some will have it. Food for behavioural psychologists...

The one Americanism that irks me above all others is "maneuver". Not only is the e/r reversed - I can cope with that, since it's common enough cf. center, theater et al. - but it's the avoidance of a perfectly reasonably diphthong. In UK English, the word is "manoeuvre", with the roots being clearly from man- (hand) and -oeuvre (work or labour). I'd not mind the US chosen spelling at all if it were only consistent, but nobody over there talks about the "euvers" of Shakespeare. I wonder why US English loathes the diphthong quite so much? I still await the day when a US history book is written about ancient Rome, and refers to Julius "Cesar", who'd sound more like a pinch hitter for the Yankees than an Emperor.