After I wrote a joke on my Twitter involving the word ‘aeroplane‘, I received a response from one of my followers, politely informing me that it was in fact correctly spelled ‘airplane‘. Obviously I was very cordial in then informing them that ‘airplane‘ was the Americanised spelling of the word, and they conceded that “there is an exception if you are British.”, although frankly, that should certainly be the other way around!
Anyway, I bring this up not to have a go at someone misguidedly trying to correct my spelling, but rather at what it made me think about afterwards. I hate to admit it, especially since most of my followers are American, but there is and has always been in Britain, this ever-present stereotype that Americans are stupid; just as American television suggests that Americans hold a stereotype that British people are pompous wimps with bad teeth; it’s fine, those with an opinion that actually matter are usually smart enough to understand the fallacy in negative stereotypes.
Having said that, the more I thought about it, the more amused I was at the notion of the ‘Americanisation‘ of the English language. One could argue that it is more a question of logicality and convenience, but I find it quite funny that Americans seem to have tried to make so many words in the language a bit easier to spell, almost as if it is an admittance of America’s own stupidity. As I said before, I give no credence to the stereotype that America is a ‘stupider‘ country, but it is odd that it seems to have something of a ‘dumbed-down‘ language.
For example, as mentioned before, the somewhat confusing ‘aeroplane‘, becomes the somewhat blatant ‘airplane‘. ‘Doughnut‘ becomes ‘donut‘, ‘tonne‘ becomes ‘ton‘, ‘dialogue‘ becomes ‘dialog‘, ‘cheque‘ becomes ‘check‘ and so on. Thinking about it now though, I’m not really sure who one would consider to have made the more intelligent choice… The ‘clever folks’ who have a plethora of ludicrously difficult-to-spell words, or the ‘morons‘ who made their language easier to learn and don’t have to waste time worrying about double-L’s and elongated vowels.