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Z in British English?


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  • 1 month later...

I talk with a lot of people online who are from the UK and I always notice that they use an S in words that I would put a Z in like "organize," they would spell it "organise" Is there a Z in British English?

Yes, there is a Z, of course.  Think of words like "zoo" or "zombie."  The alphabet is the exact same in both US and UK English.  The regional spellings and pronunciation are just different.

Other examples of this are apologize vs apologise and recognize vs recognise.

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I'm sure they have it since I'm pretty certain I've heard many of them call it "zed" before, which I even think is a bit more efficient since you won't confuse it with the letter C. They just spell some words differently and I have to admit it always catches me off guard whenever I come across it since I'm so used to the American spelling.

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I talk with a lot of people online who are from the UK and I always notice that they use an S in words that I would put a Z in like "organize," they would spell it "organise" Is there a Z in British English?

I think the Z pronunciation is the ~original~ way to spell it. American spelling is more based off of how it's pronounced (another example is "color" instead of "colour")

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English language certainly has a Z. It is the last of the 26 letters of the alphabeth.I use the Queen's English and I am wondering if these persons are making and error with their spelling because I have never spelt organize with an 's'. However, there are words that sound like they should be spelt with a Z but are actually spelt with an S. The same goes for S and X because they all have similar sounds.

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I think the British people just really pronounce things differently, that's why there is a language called "British English", it really has it's own nuances. Like they say "whilst" instead of "while". Here is a link that is related to the topic: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/10/why-do-the-british-pronounce-z-as-zed/

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I think the British people just really pronounce things differently, that's why there is a language called "British English", it really has it's own nuances. Like they say "whilst" instead of "while". Here is a link that is related to the topic: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/10/why-do-the-british-pronounce-z-as-zed/

You mean AMERICANS pronounce things differently? The Brits were the first to speak English...hence the name, lol

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You mean AMERICANS pronounce things differently? The Brits were the first to speak English...hence the name, lol

It's not so black and white.  Both US and UK English are based off languages that did indeed originate in Britain, but neither of them bears too much resemblance to "original" spoken English of say, 500-1000 years ago.

A simple example of what I mean is that organize is actually the original spelling of the word.  Why British English uses the s today, I'm not sure.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Although British English does have the letter Z, It's more widely used in American English. You'll find this to be true in most words. I use British English and find it annoying when my spell keeps highlighting words as wrong because even though my laptop is set to British English...grrr!

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  • 4 weeks later...

You mean AMERICANS pronounce things differently? The Brits were the first to speak English...hence the name, lol

It's not called "British English" though, it's just called "English". English-speaking settlers took the language over to the US.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The "z"->"s" thing is probably the only aspect of British English that I don't incorporate into my English habits, if only because they look so wrong whenever I look at them! I'm all for "centre" over "center" and "honour" over "honor," but I could never get myself to use "apologise" instead of "apologize."

I'm curious though--has anyone figured out which came first, the "s" or "z" spellings?

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Yes there is a Z and they pronounce it as "Zed." I personally use the American version most of the time as it feels more natural to me.

Here's an interesting info from Etmonline. Hope this helps!

 
-ize Look up -ize at Dictionary.com
word-forming element used to make verbs, Middle English -isen, from Old French -iser, from Late Latin -izare, from Greek -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached. 

English picked up the French form, but partially reverted to the correct Greek -z- spelling from late 16c. In Britain, despite the opposition to it (at least formerly) of OED,Encyclopaedia Britannica, the "Times of London," and Fowler, -ise remains dominant. Fowler thinks this is to avoid the difficulty of remembering the short list of common words not from Greek which must be spelled with an -s- (such as advertisedevisesurprise).
 
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've noticed that British English uses an "s" instead of "z" for words trapped between two vowels. Letter Z is mostly used as the first letter of a word and not as a consonant sandwiched between vowels. I guess that must have been influenced by the Greek spelling rules mentioned above.

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  • 4 months later...
On April 9, 2015 at 1:07 PM, VNtomboy said:

 

You mean AMERICANS pronounce things differently? The Brits were the first to speak English...hence the name, lol

Lol. I agree. I think American English has gotten so popular due to their media that it has become the standard instead of the original and people tend to forget that. I myself am so used to American spelling and pronunciation that I find it hard to think about British English as being the origins and technically more proper version of it. Spelling words with an "s" instead of "z" for example has become very weird to me even if I know at the back of my mind that it is the original and more proper version. 

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On 25.03.2016 at 0:03 PM, Baburra said:

Lol. I agree. I think American English has gotten so popular due to their media that it has become the standard instead of the original and people tend to forget that. I myself am so used to American spelling and pronunciation that I find it hard to think about British English as being the origins and technically more proper version of it. Spelling words with an "s" instead of "z" for example has become very weird to me even if I know at the back of my mind that it is the original and more proper version. 

 

Just don't think about it. I don't care much about British English claims to be the inception of all other variations and accents. 

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I personally say "zed", that was the way I was taught in Malaysia (a former British colony, so British spellings and pronunciations are standard here).

 

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On March 26, 2016 at 8:37 PM, reverserewind said:

 

Just don't think about it. I don't care much about British English claims to be the inception of all other variations and accents. 

Yeah it doesn't really bother me it's just something I tend to notice and focus on whenever I come across it and I find it interesting how I've grown so accustomed to American English and consider it the standard even though it's not the original which technically means it should be the lesser standard. It makes me wonder how different languages and dialects were formed from their original sources and eventually became the more popular to the point where the older one feels like the copy instead of the original. 

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It is really interesting to note that how some letters have gone silent, r for example. In US English r is very strong and is usually spoken with full force. Whereas in British English, r, especially at the end of the word is silent.

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Well as I know, this is one of the main differences between the American Accent and the British Accent, the americans spell the S in the end of words Z and write it Z sometimes, but in the british accent they spell it S that's all

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21 hours ago, VinayaSpeaks said:

It is really interesting to note that how some letters have gone silent, r for example. In US English r is very strong and is usually spoken with full force. Whereas in British English, r, especially at the end of the word is silent.

Also, it sounds pretty much interesting. For example, the word "person". "R" here is not at the end of the word. There's still some sound of it. I like it, even though I'm deep into the American stuff.

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Apart from spelling variation of z in British English, for instance organize and organise, pronouncation of z is also different in British  English and American English. In British English Z is zed, whereas Z is zi.

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