1 January 2008

Cross Border Spelling

As my American friends and friends from other countries will notice I use Canadian English throughout my blog and quite frankly I did not even think about it until I started emailing with someone in the States and they remarked on my spelling of certain words. You will note in my blog I write “My Favourites” whereas in the States they would write “My Favorites”, and I am sure in my articles as well I have used the Canadian spelling. However the Internet is without borders and because of that we are doing business back and forth between countries more frequently and with greater ease.

Does it Matter?

I know as a Canadian when I receive correspondence from the States and I notice their way of spelling a word, it is not a big deal as phonetically it is still the same. I think however as a common courtesy if you are writing to someone in English outside of your country it would be correct to spell in their “language”. In particular, if a Canadian company were corresponding with an American company and they were trying to get the other company’s business, in that case I would take the extra step of writing in American English and the same vice versa.

Watch your Language - Settings!

The default language setting in Microsoft Word is American English. I would suggest that Canadians set the default to Canadian English then if you are doing a document that you need to send to the States you could just set the language to American English and do a Spell Check and it would automatically pick up all the Canadian words and you could easily change it to the American spelling.

To set your language in Word in Microsoft Office 2007, go under the Review tab and pick Set Language, click on the language you want to use and then at the bottom there is a Default button and you have the option of setting this language as your default. If you do not have the new 2007 office package then from the Toolbar under Tools, choose Language, Set Language and then the process is the same as above.

I would do the same when sending documents to other countries who speak English. It is an easy process to change the language and if you look in your Set Language under English you will notice there are quite a large selection of English dictionaries: United States, Belize, South African, United Kingdom and more.


For the purposes of my blog, however, I will stick to my Canadian spelling and hope my readers will understand.

P.S. For those who won't get the last heading, there was a popular beer commercial in Canada a few years back and that was the mantra. I AM CANADIAN! You would almost feel like standing up and putting your hand over your heart and saluting when you would see the commercial! Well, at least in a Bob and Doug McKenzie, Great White North, sort of way. I'm sure the government wished they had thought of the idea first to boost national pride.

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