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June 27, 2009
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Si cinquante millions de Français pensent que la merde est une délicatesse, ils sont tous faux.
Have it your way, oh humourless one.
Well, at least you read it. At a level I was being [trying to be] funny.
Regarding your point about the Franks speaking a teutonic language that did not become recognisable French until it crossbred with Latin, while this is demonstrably true, I don't think it's admissible to the argument because the situation changed qualitatively with the advent of mass printing.
There really were no standard spellings prior to the introduction of the press. One could argue that such standardisation only came about because a small number of wealthy individuals who tended to keep company were able to produce most of the books.
I am well aware that many of the English spellings are patently absurd. This is most evident in names, of course: Featherstonehaugh being pronounced "Fanshaw". I am quick to admit that -ize follows the original greek root more closely than -ise, and so forth, but it's pretty silly to call it "English" and then insist on not using English spelling.
And as for "aluminum"...
Any chemist can tell you that -ium denotes a metal, and is therefore the only possible ending. Helium? Errr....pass? It's inert anyway, so lets just look the other way.
It is beyond doubt that the language belongs to the people. What remains in dispute is which people. For example, American misspelling of words like "colour" and "catalogue" are and always will be errors while English is so named, because the English language belongs to the English people. You can tell by the way it has their name written on it.
From a purely pragmatic standpoint, the language belongs to whoever is in the best position to influence widespread use. A wealthy man called Noah Webster had a printing press, and used it to propagate his notions of how words ought to be spelt. This is the origin of most of "standard" American misspellings: Webster deliberately caused language drift because he despised the English.
The fact that 300,000,000 Americans think colour is spelt "color" does not make it so. Webster lied to you. Believing and repeating a lie does not make it true, it just makes you look silly.
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