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Query Details


Query Subject:   -ise vs. -ize
Author:   Zouhair Maalej
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Syntax

Query:   Dear colleagues,

Out of accuracy and/or purism, teachers of English as a second and/or foreign language have always urged their students to follow a consistent spelling system. My realization that spelling in -ise or -ize is not necessarily a distinction between British English and American English leaves me with two distinct sets of data: (i) somelexical items admit only -ize even in British dictionaries(e.g. anesthesize); and (ii) some others admit both -ise and -ize (e.g. familiarise and familiarize), which is more like the distinction between the two most important dialects of English. Am I right in assuming that the -ise suffix (rightly or wrongly) associated with British English is disappearing or has never existed? Isn't this a hint that spelling in -ize is becoming the norm?

If anyone can indicate rules of thumb, papers, manuscripts, etc. thatdeal with the issue, they will be greatly appreciated.

In case I get enough feedback/material, I promise to post a summary to the list.

Zouhair Maalej
LL Issue: 9.1839
Date posted: 24-Dec-1998



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