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In-Reply-To: <Pine.SGI.3.95.980503125109.12981F-100000@zeno>
> Julian Pardoe scripted:
>
> > > Thanks for confirming that!  The Br. Eng. dictionaries I use do
> > > not
> > > list lyze as a correct spelling, so in the past I have avoided it
> > > (in
> > > my dissertation cum thesis, for instance).  I shall use it from
> > > now
> > > on.
> >
> > Oh God no; you jest -- I hope!  Etymologically "analyze" is an
> > abomination; the word is derived from the Greek "ana" and "lysis"
> > (from "lyo", I loose) and the /aiz/ has no connection with the Greek
> > verbal suffix "-izein".
>
> Is it possible that your reaction to -lyze is an example of the
> adverse reaction to Am Eng to which I alluded in an earlier post?
 
Well, at the end of the day it's a matter of taste and convention.  As
Bruce pointed out many of our traditional spellings are based on
irrelevant or poor etymology.  "Delite" was changed to "delight" because
of an unjustified analogy with "light".  Likewise the "b" was added to
"debt" because of the "b" in Latin "debitum"; if fact we'd borrowed the
word "dette" from French.  We complain about "theater" but write
"number" ourselves!
 
It annoys me when people won't use perfectly good English spellings like
"disk" because they feel they are American spellings.  (I haven't
checked the OED for a long time, so I am not 100% sure of my ground, but
I think that "disk" may even be more English than "disc".)
 
What really annoys me about the "ise"/"ize" situation is when people get
criticized for using a perfectly acceptable English spelling (and one
favoured by many publishers, not least the OUP).  It annoys me more when
the cause of this is a misapprehension not by British people, but by
Americans.  (To recap: they mistook _a_ British spelling for _the_
British spelling and excluded "-ize" from "British English" computer
spelling dictionaries.)  It annoys me in the same way when people
criticize split infinitives.
 
> Frankly, I am not interested in the etymological situation.  All I can
> see is that the Americans have started using "z" for another [z] in a
> language where "z" is the canonical way to represent this sound
 
Well, you may not be interested in the etymological situation but it's
been the tradition in English spelling to respect etymology.  As for
/z/, as someone pointed out the sound is probably more often represented
by "s" than by "z".  And where do you stop?  "Revize", ..."revizion",
"rezignation", "rezine", ...  "J" is as much the "canonical way"
(whatever that is) of representing /dZ/ as "z" is of /z/.  Ditto /k/ and
"k", /I/ and "i".  Why didn't you write "etimolojikal"?
 
> and that has to be a good thing if we are ever to have a rational
> spelling for our common tongue.
 
Well, we all agree that the spelling of English is a mess.  The problem
is that it's rather harder to agree what to do about it.  (The situation
is very similar to that of the House of Lords.  Even most Tory heredi-
tary peers will agree that the hereditary principle is indefensible.
It's a lot harder to agree on what to replace them with.  The best idea
I have heard so far was put forward as the Independent's April Fool:
appoint randomly selected voters for a kind of extended jury service.)
 
> How many new words can I derive in English from the rule -lyse ->
> lysis?  How many English speakers, native or foreign, learn that as a
> derivation pattern.
 
One can derive "-lyse" <-> "-lysis" from all English words derived from
"lysis".  (I'd agree that there aren't that many of them.)  I'd imagine
that most speakers of English know the pair "analyse", "analysis" and
could recognize "catalysis" if they'd come across "catalyse".  Of
course, since the American spelling is "lyze" not "lize" the pattern is
still there, just a little less obvious.  Of course, given that "i" is
the "canonical" spelling of /I/ you'll want to write "lize" -- and then
the pattern breaks down.
 
> Of course, the truth is that it is writing [z] as "s" in Br
> Eng which is the real exception
 
Well, as I and others have pointed out, you can hardly call writing /z/
as "s" the "real exception" when most occurrences of /z/ are spelt that
way.
 
> Personally, I hate "y" in any other role than [j] in English, and I
> would be very happy if we just wrote sistem, sinonim etc.  But why not
> just go for broke and write "analaiz, analisis"; or would that be even
> more offensive to the .001 per cent of the population who know enough
> etymology to care?
 
It wudent ounli bii dhouz huu keird ebaut eetimoloji huu'd bii apseet if
ue startid uezing speelingz laik "analaiz".
 
Aez for edopting a feneemik orthogrefi for ingglish, if ue kud kam ap
widh a skiim dhaet teiks ekaunt ov dhe greit veraiiti ev weiz in wic
ingglish iz prenaunst hiir end in dhe UeSE, Ostreilie end adher kantriz
ai'd bii veeri intereestid tu sii it.
 
Haueever, arguements dhaet ar rait ween tooking ebaut feneemik speeling
ar not neeseseerili rait ween tooking ebaut non-feneemik speeling.
 
> [As an aside, it is usually the IALAists who make these
> pro-etymological anti-phonetic points - not usually the Esperantists
> game!]
 
But, Jeimz, I don't have a "game"!!  The world is too complex for a "one
size fits all" approach.  Some languages have very phonemic spelling
systems, others more etymological ones and what is right for one is not
right for another.  Interlinguists have choice of orthographies; over
the years the language has evolved, but, illogical and irrational though
this may seem to you, they have chosen to stick with the most conserv-
ative option.  There may be a lesson of some kind there!
 
Now my aside: I am by no means in favour of strict obedience to the
"rules" of English spelling.  I write "learnt", "burnt", "spelt" because
that is what I say.  Tolkien wrote many words justifying the use of
"dwarves" in LotR; to me no justification is needed.  The "knife"/
"knives" pattern is well established in English and in my dialect
"dwarf" and "roof" both follow this pattern; I write "rooves" though no
dictionary back me up.  (I must admit though, that the weight of
convention is pressing upon me.)  On the other hand idiosyncracy in
orthography is not something that always shows to a man's best
advantage.  [Misquoted from, I think, the inestimable Fowler.]
 
-- jP --