Give me an S! Give me a Z! What will it be?

A Weekly Series of Riffs in 200 Words

When our American neighbours reach for a ‘Z’, we Aussies generally fancy the ‘S’.  However, my trusty [Collins English] dictionary (circa late last century) has a few exceptions.

When I follow the dictionary (in the manner I was taught to use it), I believe Editors think I am insane.  Working on the assumption that because my dictionary was ‘English’ and OLD (so old that its spine is broken, the pages are discoloured and some are ripped), I purchased a brand spanking new ‘Collins Concise Australian Dictionary’ but I remain unenlightened.

 Here are some examples to show you how I use my dictionary:-

  • realize or realise (Because ‘ize’ comes first and there is no listing on its own under realise then, the listing would tell me that the correct spelling is ‘ize’).
  • fantasize or fantasise (same as the above example – I would opt for ‘ize’)

Has dictionary use changed over the years?  Am I being pedantic? Or was I taught incorrectly? Does the first word represent the ‘preferred’ or ‘more correct’ spelling?

I’m betwixt and between, at sixes and sevens, between a rock and a hard place. 

The answer to Friday’s fictionary dictionary…VAIR is fur used to trim robes in the middle ages.



Filed under 200 words, Writing

2 responses to “Give me an S! Give me a Z! What will it be?

  1. I agree! Our language is being hijacked by illiterate Americans and I for one am “Not happy Jan”. I also have compared old and new versions of our dictionary and it seems someone has seen fit to bastardise our language to match up with Sesame Street. I recently came across a clipping from a rant on YouTube where and American was berating and English viewers opinions and he asked “if you Eurotrash bastards don’t like Americans, why do you speak our language?”. Eventually I stopped cry/laughing.

  2. I know what you mean. If we don’t laugh, we’d have to cry.
    It saddens me to see our television programs going the same way but then I am heartened when I watch a fabulous program like ‘The Slap’ on ABC. Let’s hope dear old Aunty can keep bringing us more good quality series based on terrific Australian writing.

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