Can we talk about spelling?

By March 2, 2016 BlogPost 2 Comments

According to the American education system my spelling is crap – well at least it was when I was younger (although my mother still thinks I’m horrible at it).

My father is Australian and the majority of books that I interacted with as a child were Australian literature. My childhood books were My Grandmother Lived in Gooligulch and My Australian Bush Adventure. And while the books were still in English, there is a huge difference between American English spelling and Australian English spelling.

Australian English is very similar spelling-wise to other Commonwealth countries like the UK and Canada but has very different words and spellings than America. An example of this is that realize is spelt as realise and color is spelt as colour. So when I started going to school in America and was using my Australian English I was constantly scolded by my teachers. As I continued on with my education in America my use of Australian spelling tapered off and now it seems weird to spell behavior as behaviour. But I’m still curious as to why these different spellings are around? Is spelling cultural?


Do any of you know why different spellings exist? Or do any of you have similar spelling stories?



  • Theresa B Theresa B says:

    From what I’ve learned in one of my American Lit classes, the shift in spelling was a way for Americans to separate themselves from England around the revolutionary war. I don’t know if I really believe that though…. I don’t think taking a “U” out of the word “Colour” is really the best way to declare national pride. However, I would make a tentative argument that perhaps it was easier to change spelling when the printing press advanced and the American printing scene.

    • Kyla P Kyla P says:

      I guess weirder things have been done to declare national pride. But I’ve never thought of spelling as an aspect that is really tied to the American identity – honestly I’ve just seen it as an annoyance of the American education system.

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