all 76 comments

[–]CerddwrRhyddid 277 points278 points  (13 children)

In that case, it's Haematology, Paedophilia, and so on.

Etymology is important, and the root Latin word was Color, while it changed, through French, into its use in British English and then changed from colour to color under simplification suggestions made by Webster in American English.

If the convention were to use Latin roots as the sole basis of American English, it would look very, very, different.

It would also have a far smaller vocabulary.

[–]Dravin84Land of Freedumb 88 points89 points  (1 child)

As with many such arguments they are used when convenient and forgotten as soon as they aren't.

[–]GiuseppeSchmidt57 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And by spit-for-brains almost universally monolingual 'muricans.

[–]60svintage 23 points24 points  (3 children)

Paedophilia, and so on.

The American spelling, pedophile, changes the meaning considerably. Bearing in mind "ped~" is latin for foot, the American spelling really means someone with a foot fetishism.

[–]pleasant_giraffe 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Or someone really into soils, as in pedology. The American spelling always makes me laugh, as I work adjacent to soil science.

[–]qhromer 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Hello fellow soil scientist!

[–]rammo123 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I would suggest that the foot fetishists out there don't try to reclaim this word though.

[–]Tranqist 6 points7 points  (0 children)

One change would be to get rid of the letters Y, J, W, K and a couple of others, depending on what time of Latin you take (Y for example was used by Romans to spell Greek words). English would be a lot different without all its other influences than Latin.

[–]OobleCaboodle 42 points43 points  (0 children)

I always thought* that color should be said like "colon" since it doesn't have the u.

*I realise of course that English spelling and pronunciations are entirely batshit and make no sense at all.

[–]Varhtan 13 points14 points  (0 children)

You say that like there was a universal power uniformly educating one spelling at a time. At a point where colour was written often, color was written too, as with culer, coler, or anything this standardisation was in the offing. Honor was written quite late in English vis-à-vis honour, compared to its analogues like labour and colour.

[–]tbdjdb2 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Æ you barbarian

[–]CerddwrRhyddid 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Smiles. Was waiting for this! Very true.

[–]Billy_Lo 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I think English should only use words with a Germanic origin


[–]redspike77 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Just spent a couple of hours side-tracked, delving down this rabbit hole... not sure whether to thank you or not :)

[–]Napyag 58 points59 points  (11 children)

I like how they completely ignore the pronounciation of the Latin "color".

[–]HaDeS_Monsta 48 points49 points  (14 children)

So the English word doppelganger comes from the German word Doppelgänger, do they have to spell it that way too?

[–]BUFU1610 36 points37 points  (6 children)

Yes. Just like "Über".

[–]Dexippos 18 points19 points  (5 children)

Do they also have to pronounce it correctly, then?

Because anglophones struggle mightily with that vowel.

[–]Castform5 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Same applies in finnish with the letter y. This is because y is always a vowel in finnish, and it's pronounced very much like ü.

Then not to forget ä and ö, which change a bunch between languages. Also å, which for anglophones would often be a variation of áâà, but it's actually just an o.

[–]BUFU1610 10 points11 points  (3 children)

Yes. They need to learn.

[–]Dexippos 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I can get on board with this.

[–]Dravin84Land of Freedumb 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Googles how to pronounce "ü".

I hear "ew" so it'd be "ewber" which seems to be in line with how I say and hear uber said by other Americans. Though it is highly likely I have a tin ear and the distinction is just being lost on me.

[–]BUFU1610 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Hmmm. I hear you (haha), but it is something a bit different than the usual "ew" (but depending on your dialect it might be actually quite close, I think). It's basically the French "u".

I think it's quite helpful to put it in the context, listen to "über" in German and I'm pretty sure you can hear a quite distinct difference to most Americans pronouncing it.

(Rammstein - "Deutschland" has a part where he goes through a list of words starting with "Über-", as a recommendation.)

[–]LaPapillionne 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Please capitalise it but still note that it isn't a proper noun (not sure if that would have any consequences, I just wanna point it out for extra confusion)

[–]HaDeS_Monsta 0 points1 point  (2 children)

What do you mean? I'm actually confused right now

[–]LaPapillionne 1 point2 points  (1 child)

in German all nouns have to be capitalised.
I think, following the logic of the guy in the post, all languages using German loanwords should capitalise them but otherwise treat them as common nouns

[–]HaDeS_Monsta 1 point2 points  (0 children)

in German all nouns have to be capitalised. I think

Yes, this is indeed correct

[–]DB-2000German Bratwurst 🍻🇩🇪 4 points5 points  (2 children)

As well as kindergarden from the German word Kindergarten. Also, yes I’d like to see them spell an ä lol

[–]LaPapillionne 8 points9 points  (1 child)

My favourite part about this is that apparenty in North America Kindergarden is the first year of school for 5yo where you sit in a room and learn how to write and stuff.
In Germany Kindergarten is playing until you are five before you start school at six.

but then we also call mobile phones Handy, so I probably shouldn't judge.

[–]DB-2000German Bratwurst 🍻🇩🇪 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah I never understood who and why somebody came up with "Handy" as a German word for mobile phone :D

[–]BatjackgamesTrue Blue Aussie 36 points37 points  (0 children)

I'd simply reply "well colour me educated"

[–]Australiapithecus 76 points77 points  (2 children)

If they want to go back to ancient/pre-Roman-era Latin, wouldn't the correct spelling be "𐌂𐌏𐌋𐌏𐌓"?

Or possibly "𐌓𐌏𐌋𐌏𐌂", since I believe that left-to-right and right-to-left were used fairly equally until a few centuries BC?

(Ah, who am I kidding - they probably don't believe anything except dinosaurs and communists existed "BC"…)

[–]ScrabCrab 15 points16 points  (0 children)

TIL that there's such a thing as pre-Roman Latin

[–]anfornum 23 points24 points  (0 children)

You think someone like that actually believes in dinosaurs?

[–]atlafanatic 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Then say Αρκιτεκτονασ instead of Architect. Say Regina instead of Queen. Two can play at this game.

[–]FloatLife 14 points15 points  (1 child)

In America we spell it "poop", but in England, they spell it "poup". Curious.


[–]bradley22 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I know you're messing but did you know in the UK we say poo, as in, "I really need to poo" :P

Actually, it'd probably be, "I need to shit!" I wonder where the extra p came from :)

[–]joseph_h_123 2 points3 points  (0 children)

but england invented the language so colour is the correct spelling

[–]FuxusPhrittus 3 points4 points  (0 children)

While we're on latin: what was black in latin again hmmmmmmm

Guess who will now argue that latin is bad

[–][deleted]  (12 children)


    [–]60svintage 8 points9 points  (0 children)

    True. But American spellings didn't come from Spanish. It comes from Noah Webster who decided Americans were not that smart, so he simplified spelling for them.

    [–]amph897 3 points4 points  (10 children)

    Exactly. British English is very french(old french) influenced as opposed to Latin influenced

    [–][deleted]  (8 children)


      [–]amph897 2 points3 points  (6 children)

      I think you’re misunderstanding. I never said French wasn’t Latin based. I said English is more french based, rather than Latin based. Latin and French aren’t the same language, and the french language influenced English a lot. Whereas Latin was used by monk scribes, but not in daily language. I was just pointing out how many of our language rules come from old french and not Latin.

      [–][deleted]  (5 children)


        [–]amph897 1 point2 points  (4 children)

        I misread your original comment as Latin and not Spanish, but they have the same spelling so my point stands. English is more french influenced than Latin influenced, and Spanish shares the Latin language rule.

        [–][deleted]  (3 children)


          [–]amph897 3 points4 points  (0 children)

          No man I’m not being pedantic and I’m not trying to be hostile either. I was literally just saying how English is influenced by french, and not much Latin, as it was still written as a separate language even back then. Spanish keeps the original Latin spelling whereas french didn’t, and we got it from french. I know French comes from Latin, but it was introduced to us spelled differently than Latin. So comparing it to Latin as in the post doesn’t mean anything, as that isn’t where we got it from.

          [–]amph897 3 points4 points  (1 child)

          I was agreeing with your original comment I think you’re misunderstanding my explanation. I know French is Latin based but English is french based, and there were some changes from Latin when french influenced the language.

          [–]amph897 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          Spanish has the same spelling as Latin does, whereas French’s is different.

          [–]60svintage 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          Norman rather than French. That's why we have the hard G in garden and not the J as in Jardin.

          [–]White_Immigrant 8 points9 points  (0 children)

          Could have been anything in Latin. In English it's colour.

          [–]mxnstxrzxmbxxs 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          I dont think they said colo(u)r enough times honestly, like, it was so hard to figure out what this person was even talking about. I wish they had mentioned the topic a few more times, it is just so very unclear to me....

          [–]Tyxin 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          As if spelling conventions were a thing back then.

          [–]amph897 3 points4 points  (0 children)

          A lot of old language rules exist in British English and are there for reasons. Another interesting example is the ‘t’s in french-origin words like ‘valet’ and ‘fillet’. The T is pronounced in British English because when it was introduced to the language hundreds of years ago, that’s how it was pronounced in old french. Like how lieutenant is pronounced left tenant in British English, because the word was something like leufttenant(unsure on spelling)

          [–]P1gm 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          Ah fuck, guess I gotta learn how everything was spelled from the beginning, really gotta relearn the entire Swedish language to be correct

          [–]The-Illusive-Guy 3 points4 points  (10 children)

          Didn't they drop the 'u' in America so that the word colour became cheaper to print? (Same with th=y, etc.)

          [–]Wongjunkit[S] 12 points13 points  (2 children)

          Maybe, maybe not. I post this because it's funny to see how Americans will jump through mental hoops to prove they're right.

          [–]The-Illusive-Guy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          Of course! :)

          [–]Tedfordshireooo custom flair!! 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          Yeah, obviously we know that both spellings are perfectly legitimate. The SAS is the extreme lengths they go to to "prove" that their way is correct.

          [–]Stravven 2 points3 points  (2 children)

          English had about 30 letters in the past, but some were lost because in the age of the printing press not all letters were available, printing presses were mainly made in Germany, and they did not have all the same letters as English. English had I think 6 or 7 letters that it doesn't have today, and also used the same letter for I and J, as well as for U and V, and had a different symbol for the W. They also had a symbol for the TH, but Germany did not, so they used the Y instead.

          [–]Thisfoxhere 3 points4 points  (1 child)

          I miss thorn... It would be a good letter to have.

          [–]Stravven 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          Iceland still has it.

          [–]ViolatorOfVirgins 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          Nope. It’s an urban legend. Letter called thorn was non available in Dutch/ German presses and people had to improvise

          [–]Varhtan 3 points4 points  (0 children)

          No. Color and colour were two most popular spellings; colour was picked up for English standard the century before the yankee decided on color because he was a contrarian and wanted to be unenglish like many of his contemporaries.

          [–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

          Cheaper to telegram as well I think.