snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Language

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 27 May 2007, 03:17 AM
Zakor
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Your theory is interesting, and obviously very well researched. How does your fact about the metal being worked with on two separate continents (and citing two different research corpora) bear on the fact that Canadian English uses aluminium while the US uses aluminum given that the export of English from the Old World happened before the invention of our AL substance?
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 27 May 2007, 03:21 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,103
Theme Icon

The Wikipedia entry for aluminium has a whole section on spelling, with citations.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 27 May 2007, 03:25 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,103
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakor View Post
Your theory is interesting, and obviously very well researched. How does your fact about the metal being worked with on two separate continents (and citing two different research corpora) bear on the fact that Canadian English uses aluminium while the US uses aluminum given that the export of English from the Old World happened before the invention of our AL substance?
Sorry Zakor, not, as it turned out, very well researched at all. I have to retract that theory for the reasons mentioned in my twice edited ETA and also mentioned in the Wikipedia article: Aluminium was the preferred spelling in the US until long after the process and the metal became cheap and common. Apparently Hall changed his spelling later on, as described in the Wiki.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 27 May 2007, 01:35 PM
DadOf3's Avatar
DadOf3 DadOf3 is offline
 
Join Date: 28 August 2005
Location: Halifax, NS
Posts: 2,202
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakor View Post
Your theory is interesting, and obviously very well researched. How does your fact about the metal being worked with on two separate continents (and citing two different research corpora) bear on the fact that Canadian English uses aluminium while the US uses aluminum given that the export of English from the Old World happened before the invention of our AL substance?
I've never heard it called "aluminium" in Canada, except by people who can't pronounce "aluminum" and stumble over it, although in that case it usually comes out "alunium".
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 27 May 2007, 05:29 PM
Rehcsif
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I've never understood the bickering and one-upmanship surrounding US vs. British pronounciations and spellings.

The simple point is, it doesn't matter how the difference became about -- whether it was a natural divergence, a corporate cover-up consiracy, or whatever. The fact is, we now have two different dialects of the word (and many other words) and having parties debate which one is the "truly correct" one is moot.

-Tim
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 27 May 2007, 09:52 PM
Zakor
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehcsif View Post
I've never understood the bickering and one-upmanship surrounding US vs. British pronounciations and spellings.

The simple point is, it doesn't matter how the difference became about -- whether it was a natural divergence, a corporate cover-up consiracy, or whatever. The fact is, we now have two different dialects of the word (and many other words) and having parties debate which one is the "truly correct" one is moot.
I'm not debating correctness (as I work in descriptive not prescriptive linguistics) ...and being a professional linguist, I have an interest in the origin. Please accept my apologies in advance.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 28 May 2007, 06:42 AM
Rehcsif
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakor View Post
I'm not debating correctness (as I work in descriptive not prescriptive linguistics) ...and being a professional linguist, I have an interest in the origin. Please accept my apologies in advance.
That wasn't directed at you or anyone else in this thread. I just see a lot of said bickering, and that seems to be the basis of the OP (if the American spelling was really a mistake all along, that just proves how superior the Brits are, right? RIGHT??)

I dabble in editing Wikipedia, and across-the-pond language varients always cause edit wars...

-Tim
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 29 May 2007, 01:44 AM
liebeslied
 
Posts: n/a
Default

You can call it "Al."

DOO doot doot doot, DOO doot doot DOOT!
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 02 February 2012, 05:48 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,624
United Kingdom Aluminum

Comment: I hear this quoted as fact a lot - the variation in spelling between
aluminium (UK) & aluminum (US) occured when the patent filled out in the
US had the name of the metal spelled incorrectly.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 02 February 2012, 07:15 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

How can a chemical element, naturally occuring (though not in pure form), be patented?

Perhaps it's true that the US patent system has so low standards that you can get a patent for a rock...
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 02 February 2012, 08:41 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,103
Icon07

Oh, I had a whole bunch of references on this whole difference but can't find them!

But the important point is that both spellings were used when the word entered the language (in addition to the less-common "alumium" in some texts), before they eventually settled in their respective standardized forms. (Texts of the early 19th century usually listed both spellings before using one or the other.) The OP story is patently false.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 02 February 2012, 09:56 AM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 8,015
Default

I am sure we had a thread on this a couple of years ago. I think we found references that the British scientist (name?) who first discovered it spelt it in three different ways. One is now obsolete, one became the British spelling (and pronunciation) and the other the American spelling.

Sorry, to be so vague. I will have to do some research.

ETA: Just been delving and I came up with this page. I am not sure how accurate it is,. but it chimes with what I remember about the thread we had:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/aluminium.htm

Quote:
Sir Humphry [Davy] made a bit of a mess of naming this new element, at first spelling it alumium (this was in 1807) then changing it to aluminum, and finally settling on aluminium in 1812.
The piece goes on to say that aluminium was used in the UK from then on (it fitted in with the spellings of other metallic elements). In the USA it appears both forms of spelling were used (with the British spelling just being the more common) until after 1900 when the American spelling seems to have taken over.

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 02 February 2012 at 10:08 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 02 February 2012, 10:11 AM
Friends of Alfred's Avatar
Friends of Alfred Friends of Alfred is offline
 
Join Date: 11 November 2004
Location: Birmingham, UK
Posts: 4,068
Default

Jumping off here....

Is it "herbs" or " 'erbs" that you use to season a dish?
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 02 February 2012, 11:15 AM
damian's Avatar
damian damian is offline
 
Join Date: 14 April 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,475
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
The piece goes on to say that aluminium was used in the UK from then on (it fitted in with the spellings of other metallic elements).
Platinum and Molybdenum also mess up the rule. Most of the elements ending in UM end in IUM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friends of Alfred View Post
Jumping off here....

Is it "herbs" or " 'erbs" that you use to season a dish?
Herbs. Unless you would pronounce your friend Herb's name without the "H", in whick case you may be Cockney.

How should one pronounce "Jojoba" and "Potpourri"?
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 02 February 2012, 12:09 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,729
Baseball

For me, in herb the 'h' is silent. 'erb, if you will.

For me, potpourri has a long 'o' and a silent 't'. POH-porri, if you will.

For me, jojoba is has the 'j' pronounced as an aspirated 'h'. HO-ho-ba, if you will.

Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 02 February 2012, 12:13 PM
llewtrah's Avatar
llewtrah llewtrah is offline
 
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
Posts: 16,363
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by damian View Post
How should one pronounce "Jojoba" and "Potpourri"?
If you're posh (or poe-shh) it approximates as hoe-hoe-ba & poe-poor-ee
From the non-posh elements I've heard joe-joe-ba & pot-pour-ee, but I try not to mix with such people too often

And dropping aitches is a sign of being terribly common and well below the salt.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 02 February 2012, 12:18 PM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,103
Cowboy

Aren't they haitches then?
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 02 February 2012, 01:18 PM
LizardWizard LizardWizard is offline
 
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Slidell, LA
Posts: 292
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by damian View Post
Platinum and Molybdenum also mess up the rule. Most of the elements ending in UM end in IUM.
And lanthanum.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 02 February 2012, 01:18 PM
llewtrah's Avatar
llewtrah llewtrah is offline
 
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
Posts: 16,363
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Aren't they haitches then?
That would depend on how high you lift the little finger from the handle of the bone china teacup and whether your butler can afford a butler of his own
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 02 February 2012, 01:55 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 73,495
Default

IME, North American English speakers pronounce "herbs" with a silent h.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.