many new hyphens in Oxford English Dictionary
Thread poster: Anne Lee

Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:04
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Dutch to English
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Jun 8, 2007

When revising academic texts, I am sometimes at a loss as to what to do when the Oxford University Press presents a spelling that seems at odds with the common use of words.
For example: water-power, which is spelled with a hyphen in the OUP dictionary but written in two words almost everywhere else. I accept hyphens should be inserted in water-powered and in words which would otherwise be misunderstood, but I hesitate about slavishly following the dictionary when it goes against common practice.

The OUP seems out of tune in other respects, for example still spelling words with -ize verb endings when common English gravitates towards -ise verb endings.
Can I ask what other reviewers or editors of British English texts do about the hyphens on those occasions?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
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Seems Inconsistent Jun 8, 2007

I think the use of hyphens in compound words tends to disappear over time, while the use of -ise or -ize is strictly a matter of British or American, not a trend.

Each may be correct, but usage should merely be kept consistent.


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
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TOPIC STARTER
about -ize and -ise Jun 8, 2007

So what you're saying is that the OUP is not the bastion of exemplary British English I considered it to be. The OUP is giving the American spellings, which was my point.

I quote from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences#-ise_.2F_-ize

'But the OED might be fighting a losing battle. The -ise form is used by the British government and is more prevalent in common usage within the UK today; the ratio between -ise and -ize stands at 3:2 in the British National Corpus.[31] The OED spelling (which can be indicated by the registered IANA language tag en-GB-oed), and thus -ize, is used in many British-based academic publications, such as Nature, the Biochemical Journal and The Times Literary Supplement.'


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
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U.S.<>U.K. (or, if you're British, US<>UK) Jun 8, 2007

Anne Lee wrote:

The OUP seems out of tune in other respects, for example still spelling words with -ize verb endings when common English gravitates towards -ise verb endings.
Can I ask what other reviewers or editors of British English texts do about the hyphens on those occasions?


The -ise endings are preferred by U.K. publishing houses that wish to preserve a distinctly British style, since that is the preferred spelling in Commonwealth English.

The -ize form is also acceptable in the U.K., and is the only correct spelling in the U.S. As a result, some publishers prefer it, since it's correct everywhere.

British usage retains hyphens in certain places where American usage abandoned them long ago (notably between prefixes and root words). With compound words, current usage in both countries is, I believe, to write them without a hyphen except when the compound word is used adjectivally.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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-ise and -ize Jun 8, 2007

http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutspelling/ize?view=uk

Are spellings like 'privatize' and 'organize' Americanisms?

No, not really. British spelling has always recognized the existence of variant spellings using the suffix -ize/-ise. When American spelling was standardized during the 19th century (mainly through the efforts of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster), the consistent use of -ize was one of the conventions that became established. However, since then, the -ise spellings have become more popular in Britain (and in other English-speaking countries such as Australia), perhaps partly as a reaction against the American custom. Spellings such as organisation would have struck many older British writers as rather French-looking. The Oxford English Dictionary favoured -ize, partly on the linguistic basis that the suffix derives from the Greek suffix -izo, and this was also the style of Encyclopaedia Britannica (even before it was American-owned) and formerly of the Times newspaper.

The main advantage of the modern -ise habit? Lazy spellers do not have to remember that there are several important words which cannot properly be spelt with -ize. These include words which are not formed by the addition of the -ize prefix to a stem, but by some other root which happens to end in the same syllable, such as -vise (as in televise), -cise (as in incise), and -prise (as in comprise).

The American system resulted in the creeping of z into some other words where it did not originally belong. Writers of American English should be aware of some spellings that are regarded as incorrect in the UK, notably analyze.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
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water power Jun 8, 2007

Water-power looks distinctly odd to me. I've always considered the OED to be THE reference dictionary, but I would certainly follow my own instinct (which I hope is generally correct!) on where /where not to use a hyphen. And I'll use an -ize in organise over my dead body - or when I'm instructed to use US English... it happens, alas

[Edited at 2007-06-08 16:20]


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:04
German to English
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Hyphen Jun 8, 2007

Quirk and Greenbaum

******

The Hyphen

There are two principal uses of the hyphen:

(1) Word division at the end of a line. ...

(2) The division, especially in BrE, of words not regarded as wholly established units (anti-war, flower-power) and the junction of phrasal units used as premodifiers (a vase of the fourth century but a fourth-century vase)

******

Hence when deciding to use a hyphen or not and I generally stop and consider whether I'm thinking about something which is an actual entity or complete concept in itself or whether I'm just using an adjective and a noun (and treat the dictionary only as a possibly already slightly out-of-date reference).

Things can start to be considered entities in themselves over the passage of time, of course:

glass house > glass-house > glasshouse

top of desk > desk-top >desktop


There was a long forum discussion on the -ise/-ize situation at:

www.proz.com/topic/71254

I'm still strongly in favour of keeping the -ize spelling. Recently I've begun to feel how much easier it is to read with this spelling - one can scan along text and see the "z" towards the end of a word and know exactly what type of word to expect; the "s" spelling needs more careful examination. The Australian affinity to this spelling only seems to confirm the notion I have that the Australians tend to appear more British than the British at times.


[Edited at 2007-06-08 17:02]


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Phyto
Local time: 20:04
English to Turkish
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"Bringing new customs to the old town"... Jun 9, 2007

... or such, as we say in Turkish.

Where "Americanisms" are concerned.

I don't see much point in looking to Greek for this sort of guidance. English borrowed her words from the Romance languages (mostly French), and they are pretty consistent with each other. Why the need to make excuses? I, too, view most such aberrations as Americanisms and try to cleanse such from my own writing. I bear a conservative look to these things - it doesn't need to make sense, it is what it is. Writing in a certain language has a certain "look," an element of aesthetics in it. I'll have a good laugh the day some Famericans "revise" French and spell "eau" as "oh."


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lingomania
Local time: 03:04
Italian to English
Hyphens, endings Jun 9, 2007

Anne Lee wrote:

When revising academic texts, I am sometimes at a loss as to what to do when the Oxford University Press presents a spelling that seems at odds with the common use of words.
For example: water-power, which is spelled with a hyphen in the OUP dictionary but written in two words almost everywhere else. I accept hyphens should be inserted in water-powered and in words which would otherwise be misunderstood, but I hesitate about slavishly following the dictionary when it goes against common practice.

The OUP seems out of tune in other respects, for example still spelling words with -ize verb endings when common English gravitates towards -ise verb endings.
Can I ask what other reviewers or editors of British English texts do about the hyphens on those occasions?


I have a 'method' for hyphen use especially when translating instruction manuals, etc. If the page is riddled with hyphens, I tend to reduce/remove some of them where possible. Concerning verb endings, I use "-ize" and "-ise" in a random way over a range of texts and I noticed so do most editors out there.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:04
French to English
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hyphen Jun 10, 2007

I have great difficulty abandoning the hyphen in 'co-operate' (look, I just can't do it) - to me, 'cooperate' seems to be something to do with hens. And I can't bring myself to use the New Yorker's 'coöperate' to indicate a separate syllable French-style.

This link from Sussex University tells me I shouldn't put a hyphen in here.

http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/department/docs/punctuation/node24.html

Luckily I don't review and edit much, so am not faced with this issue (and I rarely see the edits made to my own work). One day I'll have to standardise (!), I imagine.


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