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Gavin Greig [userpic]

On preventing the Collapse of Western civilisation

November 30th, 2006 (01:39 pm)
current location: DD4 9FF

An amusing suggestion from Aaron Brethorst, though personally I think Western civilisation is already lost when civilisation can be spelled with a z:

On preventing the Collapse of Western civilization

Comments

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: November 30th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
Smiley Rosa

Too true! (Both the post, and your observation on the spelling!)

Posted by: Nik Whitehead (sharikkamur)
Posted at: November 30th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)

I would most certainly agree with both yourself and Aaron on this point. You realise, of course, that implementing such a system would no doubt be considered a breach of the poor little darlings' human rights.

Posted by: myceliumme (myceliumme)
Posted at: December 1st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)

though personally I think Western civilisation is already lost when civilisation can be spelled with a z

Until the day before yesterday I would have agreed with you. However, my host then read to me the entry on -ize, ise, in verbs in Fowler's Modern English (2nd edition, reprinted with corrections in 1983). To my extreme chagrin, my belief that '-ize' is always incorrect in (British) English appears to be ill-founded.

Fowler points out that the suffix usually comes from Greek -izein and/or Latin -izare and so, according to OED, OUP, CUP and others, -ize is almost always etymologically correct. (Apparently, English has no reason to follow the French custom of always using -ise(r). Fowler, quoting OED, gives civiliser as an example of the way the French do it!)

The exceptions appear to be a small number of verbs, such as advertise, devise and surprise which 'do not get their -ise even remotely from the Greek -izo and [so] must be spelt with -s-'. Fowler goes on to give a more complete list of 'proper' -ise verbs.

It appears that we may have been wrong and that our transatlantic cousins have been right all along! As a (former) publisher, I hang my head in shame and humbly apologise to all those I have directly and indirectly misinformed. I would be happy to copy out and email the complete Fowler entry to anyone who wishes it.

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: December 2nd, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
Smiley Rosa

But this is about the noun, civilisation. I know both alternatives are acceptable for the verbs (although I prefer French-influenced 's'; it just feels better). The use of the 'z' in the noun form just doesn't look right at all.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 3rd, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Moustache

In that case, I plead The Auld Alliance. :-)

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