Textbook Question RE: Canadian Spelling

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Textbook Question RE: Canadian Spelling

Post by Grover » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:58 pm

I’m putting the finishing touches on a textbook, some aspects of which I’ve presented on at various English teaching conferences in North America. It's called Catalyst: A Conversation Taskbook for English Language Learners and I have a question about the use of Canadianized spellings. Though the book would probably be of equal utility to both British and North American instructors of English I’m wondering if I should Americanize the spellings to be consistent and cater to what is probably the bigger market [due to size, proximity and influence] or should I damn the torpedoes and stick with the Canadian hybrid even though doing so could have an unconscious but adverse impact on sales in both of these larger markets. The Canadian market is important but not critical from a purely economic POV.

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Post by Sally Olsen » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:27 am

Why not do both?

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Post by fluffyhamster » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:43 pm

I was just looking at some Chinese grammars by Claudia Ross, which provide both simplified and traditional characters, printed one above the other. For example (I've added a nonce word 'thei' to illustrate what would be going on in English LOL):

他们都很忙。 They are all busy.
他們都很忙。 Thei are all busy.

As the differences between character sets aren't that numerous (just one character is different in the above example), it's a bit wasteful of print and space to reprint the entire sentence. Economizing solutions would be:

1) Print only the differing form immediately below the one it differs from:

他们都很忙。 They are all busy.
他們都很忙。 Thei

The problem with this method is that, although it is very clear, it necessitates double spacing or more between lines, and is therefore wasteful of space.

2) Supply the alternate form in brackets: 他们(們)都很忙。 They (Thei) are all busy. If there are many such differences however, the sentence can start to become difficult to read. [One answer would be to delay the bracketing until last, with identical forms indicated by means of a dash, e.g. 他们都很忙。(-們---), though this would become a bit impractical with longer sentences [utterances?]].

3) Asterisk or mark by other means the item in question, with a redirect to footnotes or an appendix that supplies its alternate form:

他们*都很忙。 They* are all busy.

*= 們 , Thei

Hope this helps. Whatever you do (even simply choosing one standard over the other) is going to draw attention to itself (in the eyes of those who might make it an issue), but my inclination would be to provide the alternative forms, as Chinese materials often do (not that English orthography, specifically its spelling differences, is anywhere near as complex as the differences between the PRC and Taiwan character sets).

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